By GUY DAVIES, ABC News
(LONDON) — A key plant in the U.K.’s vaccine supply chain was forced to evacuate on Wednesday after receiving a “suspicious package,” which authorities have recovered and now are analyzing.
The plant in the Wrexham Industrial Estate in north Wales is owned by the Indian pharmaceutical company Wockhardt, which has a partnership with AstraZeneca to manufacture vaccines in the U.K.
“Wockhardt UK in Wrexham this morning received a suspicious package to site,” the company said in a statement to ABC News. “All relevant authorities were immediately notified and engaged. Upon expert advice we have partially evacuated the site pending a full investigation.”
Several hours later, North Wales Police told ABC News that there were “no wider concerns for public safety” after officers had cordoned off the area and advised the public to stay away.
North Wales Police said a call came in at 10:41 a.m. alerting them to the package.
“Colleagues from the Royal Logistics Corp Bomb Disposal Unit attended and examined the package to make sure it was safe to handle,” a police spokesperson said. “The contents will be taken away for analysis and police will undertake an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.”
“There are no wider concerns for public safety, however some roads on the industrial estate will remain closed whilst we continue our investigations,” the spokesperson added.
The Wockhardt factory is a key fulcrum in the U.K. supply chain. After being manufactured in Oxford and Staffordshire in England, the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is taken to Wrexham to be put into vials before distribution.
The plant was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November when he was told the facility could produce up to 300 million doses of vaccine per year.
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