MP Bill Wiggin has called for coronavirus testing at all fruit and vegetable farms after an outbreak of Covid-19 at one near Ledbury.

The North Herefordshire MP was speaking after 93 workers, at the time of writing, had tested positive for the virus at AS Green and Co farm in Mathon.

Mr Wiggin said he had spoken with health ministers, and was keen that other local food producers and fruit farms be given the Covid-19 virus test.

“We have a large population of migrant workers and ensuring everybody’s safety is in all our interests,” Mr Wiggin said.

“Most food operations make their workforce wear personal protective equipment, but recently the last six outbreaks have been in food processing plants.

“The Government is concerned that the reason for this is that despite the PPE in use, the temperature in these places is much lower at about six degrees celsius.

“In the hotter months, we have been winning our battle against Covid-19 but the Government fear that during the winter months when the temperature falls, we will be much more vulnerable.”

Around 200 workers at the Herefordshire farm have been quarantined following the outbreak.

The majority of workers at AS Green and Co live and work on site in static caravans.

We reported earlier in the week how workers from the farm had been to Worcester and Malvern on a minibus to shop, before 74 tested positive for the virus at the weekend.

The mayor of Ledbury, Councillor Daniel Vesma, offered the town’s support and wished the infected workers well with their recovery.

Cllr Vesma said: “First and foremost, I wish a full and speedy recovery to those who are dealing with symptoms and offer my sympathies to their family and friends who will no doubt be finding this to be a very distressing situation.

“We continue to monitor the events in Mathon closely, and to support the work being done to help contain the spread of this outbreak.

“Many people will be anxious about what has happened, but in my judgement it does not change the fundamental precautions that we should all take to protect our health, and the health of our neighbours.

“I also offer Ledbury’s support to those working to contain the virus within the farm, although from what I understand, every action is already being taken to limit the wider impact.

“I know that the schools and other local organisations are in close contact with Public Health England, and I am reassured that they do not see additional risk to Ledbury’s population - this outbreak should be a reminder to all of us that we are far from out of the woods.

“I would urge my fellow citizens to be respectful towards each other’s health and take every opportunity to reduce the risk of transfer, give each other space and use masks where appropriate.”

Caroline Green, chair of the Ledbury Traders Association, said: “As far as we’re concerned, it is known the group visited Worcester and Malvern and nothing was said about the infected workers visiting Ledbury, so traders are not worried.

“At the same time, we’re going everything we can to make Ledbury a safe place for shopping and we have to hope people are safe when they come shopping. Ledbury is a safe place to shop.”

On a community Facebook group for the town, residents discussed the situation.

Sara Manns Pedlingham said: “There’s probability that someone local that could also be wandering around oblivious to the fact they are spreading it. None of us know if we are carriers without symptoms - just practice good hygiene with regular handwashing, keep social distancing and go out as little as possible while wearing a mask.”

Lyn-Marie Norton said: “If a person has been unfortunate enough to catch Covid and has been shopping whilst unaware, then there’s nothing that anyone could have done about it. I practice safe distancing, go out only when necessary and use antibacterial wipes and gel provided, and that’s as much as I can do. Of course, I shall now be wearing a face covering too.”