NO garden waste is being collected in Wokingham because almost half the binmen are off due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

Wokingham Borough Council says 40 per cent of the binmen working for the company Veolia are “are off sick due to Covid-19”.

The company, which is contracted by the council to collect waste in Wokingham, has been forced to temporarily suspend garden waste collections due to the shortage of staff.

On January 11, a company spokeswoman said: “We have seen a number of positive cases across our Wokingham contract.

“We also have a larger number of staff being required to self-isolate in line with government guidance.

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“We are following our business continuity plans to ensure that the most critical services remain in operation and as a result the garden waste service has temporarily been suspended for two days.

“We are working to re-start the service as soon as possible.

“We ask residents to bear with us during this very difficult time. further updates will be provided via the council’s webpages.”

Wokingham’s seven-day infection rate stands at 538.8 cases per 100,000 people, after 922 new confirmed cases.

When the second national lockdown was lifted on December 2, the infection rate was at 128.6, but the new strain of the virus has driven a surge in cases.