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Trouble Down Lab

The Milton Keynes Lighthouse Lab has been hit by an outbreak of coronavirus, according to Sky News.

Positive cases have been reported in three of the four scientific teams at the Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory, as well as among administrative and warehouse staff at the site.

It is not known how many people have been affected by the outbreak, but around 20 people in one 70-person lab team are currently isolating, according to a worker at the laboratory who asked to remain anonymous.

The outbreak has placed considerable strain on the lab, which has been asked to process 70,000 tests a day in order to keep up with rising demand.

The source said that 47,000 were processed on Tuesday, adding: “No chance we’ll ever hit 70,000 a day the way we’re going.”

The lab worker also raised concerns about the safety of the lab, saying that rules put in place to keep staff safe were being broken in order to meet targets – a claim the Department of Health and Social Care denied.

Sky News understands the Lighthouse Lab is supposed to have a bubble system in place in order to keep staff separate, following a recommendation from the Health and Safety Executive, which visited the site recently.

Yet according to the source, the bubble system is not being respected with workers at the short-staffed lab being moved between groups, risking further cross-contamination.

The lab worker said there had also been mixing in the building’s lobbies and at the canteen.

Staff at the laboratory have been offered an unlimited number of tests and new staff are tested when they arrive.

The lab worker said that new recruits had been sitting in the canteen while they waited for their test results.

According to the lab worker, one new warehouse staff member received a positive test result after they had sat in the canteen during a period when a whole lab team had been in there for a break.

“The whole thing’s a joke,” they said.

Worth reading in full.

This outbreak won’t come as news to readers of Lockdown Sceptics. Last month we ran a piece by Lighthouse Lab whistleblower Dr Julian Harris flagging up health and safety breaches at the Milton Keynes facility.

Read that piece again here.