Greggs has said a “small number” of staff at its factory near Newcastle have tested positive for coronavirus with production temporarily shut down.

The baker said it has a large reserve of frozen stock, which will ensure supplies reach its 1,700 shops around the UK.

The company is working with local public health teams to minimise the impact on the wider community.

A Greggs spokesperson said: “Following a small number of colleagues having tested positive for covid-19 at our Balliol manufacturing facility, we have taken the decision to temporarily stop production as a precautionary measure to keep our teams as safe as possible.

“We do not foresee any stock shortages in our shops at this time.”

Around two million people are currently under tighter coronavirus restrictions due to rising infection rates in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.

Elsewhere in the UK, several other food manufacturing plants have also been hit by coronavirus outbreaks in recent months, resulting in mass testing and deep cleans before production was allowed to resume.