Contact tracing is underway after nine cases were confirmed in a recent outbreak at a North Ayrshire steel contracting firm.

The NHS test and protect team has been in touch with a number of individuals at J&D Pierce Contracts Ltd who have been told to self isolate - while the firm's managing director told the Herald all affected areas had since been sanitised.

J&D Pierce Managing Director Derek Pierce said: "Unfortunately we have four employees contact their line manager feeling unwell and came back positive.

"We had an action plan for this so immediately engaged with the NHS testing unit. All the affected areas where the people were working were cleaned and sanatised.

"We had mass testing done on the Tuesday morning and around 200 employees tested and nine coming back positive in total.

"We have it arranged to be redone tomorrow, then next Tuesday and Friday so everyone will be tested a minimum of four times - we want to see this 100 per cent eradicated."

Dr Joy Tomlinson, Joint Director of Public Health said: "NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Test & Protect team has conducted contact tracing within a workplace in North Ayrshire.

"A number of individuals have been contacted by the Test and Protect team and told to self-isolate at home for 10 days.

"All relevant Public Health measures are in place and our Public Health Team is working with North Ayrshire Environmental Health Officers to manage and monitor the situation.

"We would like to remind people of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19): new persistent cough; high temperature; and / or loss of taste and smell. Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should book a test and self-isolate immediately."

Everyone in Ayrshire and Arran is reminded to remember the FACTS guidance:

F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport (buses, trains and taxis)

A – Avoid crowded places.

C – Clean your hands frequently, using water & soap whenever possible.

T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.

S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.