Leonardo Helicopters workers have been isolated after returning to Yeovil from “higher-risk countries” amid the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19, the company has confirmed.
A number of Leonardo employees in the town are self-isolating in line with NHS advice after visiting areas of the world with high numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases.
The business enacted a suspension on all international business travel last month, and these isolated employees are among those who travelled before the suspension was brought in.
A spokesman for Leonardo Helicopters said on Tuesday (March 10) none of those workers self-isolating have been diagnosed with COVID-19, adding that the company is “constantly monitoring the situation and maintaining close contact with national and international authorities”.
Leonardo Helicopters employs thousands of people at its Yeovil base.Coronavirus Latest
(as of 9am on Thursday March 12)
Number of UK cases: 590
Number of South West cases: 42
Number of UK deaths: 10
Total recovered in the UK: 18
Active cases in the UK: 562
The business is an Anglo-Italian company and employees often travel between Italy and Yeovil.
Italy is currently under lockdown with schools and many business closed by the government as coronavirus cases in the European country exceeded 12,000 on March 12.
A Leonardo Helicopters spokesman said: “As a precautionary measure to the COVID-19 situation, as of Monday, February 24 Leonardo suspended international business travel company-wide.
“Exceptions may apply in special cases for urgent and specific requirements – following a careful assessment of potential risks and with safety procedures in place.
“Employees who travelled before this suspension was put in place and are now returning from at-risk countries or quarantined areas are being asked to self-isolate, in line with NHS advice.
“There are a small number of employees who have been asked to self-isolate, none have been diagnosed with COVID-19.”
The spokesman added: “As an international organisation, Leonardo is constantly monitoring the situation and maintains close contact with national and international authorities in order to ensure employee safety.
“In accordance with Corporate and FCO guidance, restrictions have been placed on visitors from certain countries or areas which are categorised as higher risk.
“Leonardo is informing staff daily on a variety of channels on the COVID-19 situation as it progresses.
“We encourage all our employees and visitors to take the necessary prevention measures in hygiene and cleanliness.”
Leonardo Helicopters is also currently in talks with the South Korean navy regarding an $800 million contract to supply 12 anti-submarine helicopters, built in Yeovil, to the Asian country.
South Korea has been labelled “higher risk” by the NHS, with the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Asian country now standing at more than 7,000.
As of 9am on Thursday (March 12), 456 people had tested positive for the virus in the UK, including 42 in the South West, and ten British patients who tested positive for COVID-19 had died.