A hotel in Cornwall reportedly hosting media and security staff for the G7 summit has closed following a coronavirus outbreak.
Neil Shaw www.devonlive.com
The website for the Pedn Olva hotel in St Ives said it has temporarily shut on Thursday and directed inquiries to its owners, St Austell Brewery.
The hotel said a number of staff had been affected and it would close for deep cleaning following discussions with Public Health England (PHE).
German media reported that two security guards for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel were staying inside the hotel, although it is not clear if they are quarantining or have been relocated.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Ms Merkel would still be attending the summit.
According to reports, the hotel had identified a coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday.
The hotel owners, St Austell Brewery, said: “We can confirm that a number of our team at the Pedn Olva, St Ives, have tested positive for Covid-19.
“We immediately notified Public Health England of these cases and have been working closely with them to ensure we follow all appropriate safety guidelines.
“Following extensive discussions over the last few days with PHE and Cornwall Council, we have taken the decision to fully close the hotel.
“We fully appreciate the inconvenience given the limited accommodation options available in the area at the moment but the safety and security of our team and guests is our upmost priority.
“The hotel will reopen once a full Covid-19 deep clean has taken place and we have the available staff to run it.”
Simon Norris, 62, who also lives near the hotel, said his wife saw people checking out of the hotel and leaving with bags at about 5pm.
“We don’t have a lot of direct contact with the hotel, I’m really saddened by the outbreak,” he told the PA news agency.
“I feel very sorry for the staff that work there because they have done a lot of work to open the hotel up for the G7 and visitors. It’s extremely disappointing.
“When we’ve gone there they’ve met all the Covid protocols, I think they’ve just been very, very unlucky. It’s a great shame really. Prior to this we have had no incidents of Covid in St Ives.”
PHE and the Department for Health and Social Care have been approached for comment.
Elsewhere, Devon and Cornwall Police denied claims of a coronavirus outbreak on the ferry used to accommodate officers to the G7 summit, saying none had tested positive.
Rachel Wigglesworth, director of Public Health for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, said that public health teams were used to dealing with outbreaks of coronavirus.
When asked on Sky News on Friday about a hotel, reportedly hosting G7 media and security staff, having to close due to a Covid-19 outbreak she said: “As we know from living with this global pandemic there’s always these cases that arise but we are used to dealing with these sort of incidents across the country now.
“Our public health teams and the expertise around them are helping to support venues where there are any outbreaks and sometimes a business has to make the decision that they operationally cannot continue to work rather than it necessarily being a public health issue where staff have to self isolate.
“What we are seeing across the country is there are outbreaks, we have slightly increased the rates of Covid over the last few weeks, I think related to the relaxation of the restrictions from May 17, so a lot more cases amongst hospitality venues and amongst younger people that are not vaccinated.
“So we do need to continue to vaccinate but also to then suppress these cases where we do identify them.”