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Staff at coronavirus-hit test and trace call centre ‘lax about social distancing’, says worker | UK News



Staff at a call centre in Scotland where there has been an outbreak of coronavirus did not follow social distancing rules, a worker who has tested positive for the illness has said.

The Sitel call centre, located at a business park near Bellshill, 13 miles east of Glasgow, is working on test and trace cases for NHS England.

The 19-year-old woman, who spoke anonymously, used to work on the test and trace team before being switched to a different section.

Six cases were reported within the call centre on Sunday.

The teenager, who is now in quarantine, admitted staff did not always follow guidance on social distancing and she thought it was worse on the test and trace team.

She said: “Down in the track and trace they are getting one to two calls a day, so they are sitting doing nothing, they are sitting playing games with each other just to keep the time going. The rules are more lax down there.”

The problem, she said, also came during breaks because there was not enough seating for everyone at the call centre.

“There’s benches and they have tape, and where there is no tape you can sit, so there are two metres in place.

“But there are not enough seats so people are bumping in together. They do put the things in place, it’s just the workers aren’t enforcing them.”

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The teenager said of the office environment: “There are social distancing measurements in place, there is a desk and a half between each desk, there are one-way systems, hand sanitiser everywhere.

“They have a social distancing ambassador, he goes round making sure everyone is following the rules.

“So they do have a lot in place.”

As for her own situation, she said: “Honestly, it’s not hit me. I’ve got asthma, so I’ve got my inhalers at the ready.

“You just need to take each day as it comes, what’s meant to be will be. That’s the only way you can go about it, there’s no point making yourself feel worse.”

Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney has not ruled out fining the company, but told the BBC the government’s primary focus “is to make sure that we interrupt any transmission of the virus”.

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon confirmed she had previously reported Sitel to police and public health authorities after staff contacted her regarding conditions in the call centre.

Ms Lennon said there should be “sanctions against bad bosses who put public health at risk”.

An NHS test and trace spokeswoman said they were aware of the outbreak.

“We take the safety and well-being of our staff very seriously.

“Everyone at the site is currently working from home while a deep clean takes place, and will be offered a test within the next 24 hours.”

The number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in Scotland has dropped for the first time in almost a week, according to the latest figures.

Scottish government data shows there were seven positive tests recorded between Sunday and Monday, taking the total to 18,452.

There were no new recorded deaths.

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