MasterChef winner’s restaurant shut after norovirus outbreak

The Mexican restaurant chain founded by MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers has been shut down by health and safety officials.
Hundreds of staff and diners at the Wahaca chain have fallen ill with a suspected norovirus outbreak.
Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK. It is also known as winter vomiting bug because it is more common during the colder months.
Public Health England (PHE) has now launched a probe into how the outbreak started.
Nearly 400 workers and members of the public have fallen ill.
Wahaca has now released an apology, saying the situation was “unprecedented”.
Ms Miers has issued a joint statement with the co-founder of the chain, Mark Selby which confirmed that a number of staff and customers fell ill with suspected cases of norovirus.
The statement continued: “We assessed each case and when it became clear they were not isolated incidents, we got in touch with relevant officials at PHE and Environmental Health Officers.”
Deborah Turbitt, London’s deputy director for PHE, said her team was working to determine the cause of the outbreak.
She said the organisation had so far been alerted to 205 cases involving members of staff and 160 members of the public. However, as yet, none of these cases has definitely been confirmed as norovirus.
Wahaca bosses agreed voluntarily to shut down affected restaurants and told any employees who had reported symptoms to stay off work for at least 48 hours after they felt well again.
The statement from the chain said: “We are incredibly sorry that people have been unwell. In the nine years since we first opened Wahaca, we have never had such an unprecedented incident, and we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of how this may have happened.”
Affected restaurants are spread across the country. Those closed down are in Manchester, Brighton, Cardiff and London.
There is no treatment for Norovirus, other than to let the illness run its course.
Other symptoms, as well as nausea and diarrhoea, include a high temperature, headaches and aching limbs.
While most sufferers fully recover with a day or two, the virus can pose a risk to vulnerable people, including the very young and very old, who can become dangerously dehydrated and need hospital admission.
It is a very contagious illness, which can be transmitted from person to person, by touching contaminated surfaces, or through food or drink which has been contaminated with the virus.