Union Unite is calling for XPO Logistics to close its Swindon depot following an outbreak of Covid-19 at its Iceland facility.

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, also weighed in this week calling on XPO Logistics to ensure its Swindon depot is safe after 64 workers at the facility were found to be suffering from Covid-19.

The call follows a spike in infection rates in the town which council officials said had been traced in large part to XPO Logistics’ Iceland distribution centre in Swindon.

Public Health South West set up a mobile testing unit at the site last week and by Friday 64 workers had been tested positive for the virus.

In a statement this week the council said almost 500 people working on the site have been tested.

It added: “This localised outbreak, currently limited to workers at a single workplace, is being contained through extensive testing of staff as part of standard outbreak response.

“Staff have been widely tested to identify all cases and isolate them, containing the spread of the virus. It is expected cases will increase through testing and should then drop as the people spreading it are isolated.

Unite regional co-ordinator John McGookin said employees were scared to return to work and felt XPO had not given them enough information on the outbreak.

He said: “Let's be honest, if you've had the number of cases that this site has had in a small town, you'd be seriously thinking of quarantining the site.

"We have no idea why they have not done that. They are not communicating with us."

Speaking on BBC Radio Wiltshire today, local MP Robert Buckland also raised safety concerns: “Under the current rules a lot of the workforce are going to have to stay at home and stay away from work and therefore it’s incumbent I think on the employers to make sure that everything they’re doing offers as safe a system of work as possible," he said.

“I’ll be speaking again to Public Health Swindon in the next day or so for an update and seek assurances as, rightly, people who work there are going to be scared about potentially contracting the disease.”

Swindon Borough Council’s director of public health Steve Maddern said XPO staff accounted for the majority of the new coronavirus cases in the town.

He said: “In line with established public health procedures and protocols, all the necessary steps are continuing to be taken to support XPO Logistics and its workforce to ensure this outbreak of coronavirus is properly managed and contained.

“The company is working closely with all the agencies involved to implement the public health advice provided.

“Inevitably the number of cases has gradually increased this week, which can be expected as a result of the extensive staff testing made available onsite this week.

“We are now seeing the number of new cases starting to reduce as the outbreak is contained. We are assessing the risks on a daily basis based on the latest evidence, taking proportionate action in consultation with all parties involved.

“The site remains operational, with social distancing and infection control measures being reinforced on a daily basis. People identified as close contacts of the cases have been told to isolate.

“It is also important to recognise that this outbreak accounts for the large majority of current total confirmed cases in Swindon.

“Through the swift action being taken and united effort from everyone involved, the risk of this local outbreak to the wider community remains low.”

An XPO spokeswoman said: “Protecting our employees is our number one priority. We’re working closely with the local authorities and adhering to all local and Public Health England guidance to ensure the appropriate health and safety measures are in place.”