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Pingdemic COVID19 Govt very concerned39; about impact of pingdemic39; with

Pingdemic COVID19 Govt very concerned39; about impact of pingdemic39;  with


UK Covid LIVE: Kwasi Kwarteng urges shoppers not to panic amid … Thu, 22 Jul 2021 09:00:00 +0100-Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng tells Sky News that ministers are "monitoring" the situation and will be setting out a list of exempt critical workers "very soon".

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COVID-19: Govt ‘very concerned’ about impact of ‘pingdemic’ – with list of exempt critical workers expected ‘very soon’

The government is “very concerned” about the numbers of people being pinged by the NHS app, the business secretary has told Sky News.

Speaking to Kay Burley, Kwasi Kwarteng said ministers were “monitoring” the situation and would be setting out a list of exempt critical workers “very soon”, with the expectation that it will be published on Thursday.

Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world

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COVID-19: UK food shortage feared

“The list of exemptions will be quite narrow because, obviously, you have to draw the line somewhere,” he said.

Downing Street said earlier this week that it would not be “producing a list covering individual sectors”, with employers instead having to apply to government departments to allow workers to effectively circumvent the COVID-19 rules around isolation.

His comments come as retailers warn they are under “increasing pressure” to keep shelves fully stocked amid staff shortages caused by the “pingdemic”.

Industry bosses have warned that supply chains are “starting to fail” due to the number of workers, including lorry drivers and meat-processing staff, getting pinged by the NHS COVID-19 app.

Some shoppers have posted pictures on social media of empty supermarket shelves in parts of the country.

Iceland said it was seeing stock shortages at some stores, caused by staff isolating and the continuing shortage of HGV drivers.

Managing director Richard Walker said: “We need absolute clarity from the government as soon as possible, including a Test and Trace self isolation exemption list, to include all retail workers and HGV drivers.”

A spokesperson for Lidl said staff having to isolate “is starting to have an impact on our operations” and the supermarket is “working hard to minimise any disruption to customers”.

A Sainsbury's spokesperson told Sky News: “While we might not always have the exact product a customer is looking for in every store, large quantities of products are being delivered to stores daily and our colleagues are focused on getting them onto the shelves as quickly as they can.”

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has now urged the government to change self-isolation guidance to help address the issue.

Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the BRC, said in-store staff and suppliers should be allowed to work even if they get an alert to isolate for 10 days.

The National Police Chiefs' Council has also said that police response times are “under strain” as some forces deal with staffing shortages.

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Data dive: COVID 'ping' aligns with cases

Schools have also been feeling the effects, with latest figures showing more than one million children in England were off school last week for coronavirus-related reasons.

The prime minister's spokesman said on Tuesday that the exemption would be determined on a case by case basis, with employers having to apply to the relevant government department to see if their workers can continue to come into work after they are identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID.

The spokesman said it could include certain workers in the food industry, utilities, border staff and the NHS, but there is no blanket exemption for sectors.

There have been growing calls in recent weeks for changes to the rules around isolation, amid warnings that the number of people being told to quarantine is having a crippling effect on businesses.

Being pinged by the app means you should isolate for 10 days – but unlike being contacted by Test and Trace, it is guidance rather than legally mandated.

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Firms told to apply for isolation exemption

Latest figures show more than 500,000 people were pinged by the app in the week up to 7 July, leading to concerns that millions could be forced out of work as coronavirus cases rise.

With case numbers expected to rise over the summer, there are fears that people will delete the app en masse to avoid being told to isolate.

There have been calls for the sensitivity of the app to be adjusted, but the government has ruled this out.

Ravi Gupta, a Cambridge University professor and member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) which is advising the government, said a “mixed bag of measures” were “creating confusion and havoc”.

“I think it is a little bit difficult to justify people doing self-isolation when in fact we have held huge sporting events with large amounts of transmission that have probably gone undetected,” he told Kay Burley.

“So it's a sort of half-hearted measure that is affecting the lives of many people, many of whom will be depending on their income on a daily basis, and for whom a week of isolation is disastrous.”

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How does UK COVID rate compare with other nations?

This was echoed by Labour's Nick Thomas-Symonds, who told Sky News that the government has “come out of restrictions in the most reckless way possible”.

“They actually need to be looking at why infections are surging and looking at measures that would actually mitigate that,” the shadow home secretary said, citing compulsory mask-wearing and people working from home.

Boris Johnson, who is himself isolating after being identified as a close contact of the COVID-positive Health Secretary Sajid Javid, has said isolation is “one of the only shots we have got left in our locker to stop the chain reaction of the spread” of COVID.

“I'm afraid that at this stage it's simply a consequence of living with COVID and opening up when cases are high in the way that we are,” he said.

From 16 August, under-18s and people who are fully vaccinated will no longer be told to isolate if they come into close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Instead, they will be encouraged to take a test. Anyone who tests positive will still be legally required to isolate, regardless of their vaccine status.


... read more

COVID-19: Govt 'very concerned' about impact of 'pingdemic' – with … Thu, 22 Jul 2021 09:00:00 +0100-Asked about a warning from Iceland managing director Richard Walker, Kwasi Kwarteng told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “He was right to say shoppers …

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‘Don’t panic’ shoppers told as airports brace for getaway – LIVE

July 22, 2021

BREAKING

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A woman wearing a face mask pushes a shopping cart at a Tesco supermarket in Hatfield / REUTERS
T

he business secretary has urged shoppers not to panic as the “pingdemic” is blamed for empty shelves at supermarkets due to self-isolating food industry workers

Several major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have said they are facing problems, as staff and delivery drivers are forced to isolate after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19.

Asked about a warning from Iceland managing director Richard Walker, Kwasi Kwarteng told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “He was right to say shoppers shouldn't be panicking. I don't quite know what he meant that the Government should be panicking, I'm not panicking.”

It came after the British Meat Processors’ Association warned the UK’s food supply chains are “right on the edge of failing” as Covid-19-related absence aggravates a critical shortage of labour.

Meanwhile airports across the country prepare for the busiest weekend of the year, with reports more than 2,100 flights will carry up to 393,000 passengers to major European destinations after most schools break up.

1626946383

“There were large decreases in theft offences, such as domestic burglary and theft from the person, as more people stayed at home and limited their social contact.

“At the same time, there were substantial increases in fraud and computer misuse offences such as hacking, as fraudsters took advantage of behavioural changes during the pandemic, such as increased online shopping.

“The number of people who became victims of violent crime also fell, driven by decreases in violence where the offender was a stranger. This likely reflects a decrease in violence taking place in public spaces during national lockdown restrictions.”

1626943751

But it stressed the main reason was a lack of qualified lorry drivers, although a fuel distribution terminal has been closed for a few days because of the number of people self-isolating.

In a statement, BP said: “We are experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades. However, the vast majority of these temporary issues are being resolved within a day.

“Our supply chain has been impacted primarily by the industry-wide driver shortages across the UK. The situation was exacerbated last week by the temporary closure for a number of days of our Hemel Hempstead fuel distribution terminal due to necessary Covid-19 isolations amongst staff there. The terminal is now operating as normal once again.

“We are working hard with our haulier supplier to deliver fuel into sites and minimise any disruption to our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

1626939853

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has expressed confidence that the Government would win a vote on vaccine passports but suggested it may only be a vote on the “concept” of their use.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You can never predict parliamentary votes but we’ve got a majority of 80 and I’m very confident we can pass the legislation we require.

“I don’t know what the proposed vote will be, you can never tell what the actual vote in the House of Commons in terms of the wording and what the position is.

1626939325

Asked about a warning from Iceland managing director Richard Walker, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He was right to say shoppers shouldn’t be panicking.

“I don’t quite know what he meant that the Government should be panicking, I’m not panicking.”

1626938374

The managing director of Iceland has said staff absence rates are now double the usual number, with the figure rising 50 per cent “week on week” due to people being told to self-isolate by the NHS app.

Richard Walker told the Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve now got over 1,000 staff off, who are who’ve been pinged. That’s double the normal rates, and it’s rising at 50 per cent week on week.

“Our big concern is that we’ve kept all of our shops open throughout the pandemic, but now we have had to close one or two shops and reduce hours in others.

“But that could get a lot worse a lot quicker, unless the country’s system is sorted out.”

Mr Walker urged shoppers not to panic-buy, saying: “There is certainly no problem with supply of stock.

“Panic-buying is only an option for those who can afford it and it often means that others go without.”

1626937683

The head of the British Retail Consortium has suggested rules around self-isolation could be amended for people working in food supply chains following rising levels of staff absence.

“Either those (self-isolation) rules need to change or something else in the wall of defences against the virus needs to be considered,” Helen Dickinson told BBC Breakfast.

Ms Dickinson said she was not calling for the app to be ditched but added: “I want to be really clear that the … disruption that we are already seeing will only get worse.”

She said bringing forward the date double-vaccinated people will not need to self-isolate if they come into contact with a Covid-19 case could be one solution.

“There are some pilots for tested release for businesses and people who get paid to test themselves and then released back into their workplace, those pilots could be extended or that could be a new system,” Ms Dickinson said.

1626935205

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said a list of critical workers who will be eligible for loosened isolation rules if pinged by the Covid app will be drawn up “very soon”.

No 10 has previously said “we’re not going to be producing a list covering individual sectors”.

Mr Kwarteng said he was “very concerned” about the situation following reports of shortages on supermarket shelves.

He told Sky News: “We’re going to announce a list of exempt workers. The list of exemptions will be quite narrow because, obviously, you have to draw the line somewhere.”

Mr Kwarteng would not say who would be on the list or say whether it would come this week, but insisted it would be “very soon”.

1626933943

People in England are being urged to continue wearing face coverings in crowded places, and use the NHS Covid-19 app to check in to venues, despite legal requirements to do so being lifted.

An official information campaign, which will hit airwaves, newspapers and other media from Thursday, will see the Government replace its “hands, face, space, fresh air” slogan with its new catchphrase: “Keep life moving.”

The campaign video fronted by TV doctor Dr Amir Khan will also recommend people continue to follow social distancing guidance, as the film shows a young man stepping off a pavement to allow an older neighbour to pass.

The advice comes despite Monday being trumpeted as England’s “freedom day”,

1626933813

A food distribution company struggling with staff shortages is advising workers who are pinged by the app to follow a testing regime and continue working, in breach of the Government advice.

Bidfood chief executive Andrew Selley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We know that they’re critical workers as part of the food supply chain, so if people are obviously positive or contacted by Test and Trace then they will have to isolate.

“If they are pinged we ask them to take a PCR test, if that’s positive then clearly they’ll isolate, but if it’s negative we ask them to come back to work and we have a process of doing lateral flow tests daily away from their workplace, and if that’s negative they can proceed with their work.”

Told the Government advice is otherwise, he said: “We think that’s appropriate and safe. The ping is advisory. We operate in Covid-safe workplaces and we’re absolutely key workers in terms of the supply chain to hospitals, care homes, prisons, and therefore it’s important for us to be able to keep offering that service to our customers.”

1626933493

…and welcome to Thursday’s coronavirus live blog! We’ll keep you up to date with the main developments throughout the day.

image
A woman wearing a face mask pushes a shopping cart at a Tesco supermarket in Hatfield / REUTERS
T

he business secretary has urged shoppers not to panic as the “pingdemic” is blamed for empty shelves at supermarkets due to self-isolating food industry workers

Several major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have said they are facing problems, as staff and delivery drivers are forced to isolate after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19.

Asked about a warning from Iceland managing director Richard Walker, Kwasi Kwarteng told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “He was right to say shoppers shouldn't be panicking. I don't quite know what he meant that the Government should be panicking, I'm not panicking.”

It came after the British Meat Processors’ Association warned the UK’s food supply chains are “right on the edge of failing” as Covid-19-related absence aggravates a critical shortage of labour.

Meanwhile airports across the country prepare for the busiest weekend of the year, with reports more than 2,100 flights will carry up to 393,000 passengers to major European destinations after most schools break up.

1626946383

“There were large decreases in theft offences, such as domestic burglary and theft from the person, as more people stayed at home and limited their social contact.

“At the same time, there were substantial increases in fraud and computer misuse offences such as hacking, as fraudsters took advantage of behavioural changes during the pandemic, such as increased online shopping.

“The number of people who became victims of violent crime also fell, driven by decreases in violence where the offender was a stranger. This likely reflects a decrease in violence taking place in public spaces during national lockdown restrictions.”

1626943751

But it stressed the main reason was a lack of qualified lorry drivers, although a fuel distribution terminal has been closed for a few days because of the number of people self-isolating.

In a statement, BP said: “We are experiencing some fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites in the UK and unfortunately have therefore seen a handful of sites temporarily close due to a lack of both unleaded and diesel grades. However, the vast majority of these temporary issues are being resolved within a day.

“Our supply chain has been impacted primarily by the industry-wide driver shortages across the UK. The situation was exacerbated last week by the temporary closure for a number of days of our Hemel Hempstead fuel distribution terminal due to necessary Covid-19 isolations amongst staff there. The terminal is now operating as normal once again.

“We are working hard with our haulier supplier to deliver fuel into sites and minimise any disruption to our customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

1626939853

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has expressed confidence that the Government would win a vote on vaccine passports but suggested it may only be a vote on the “concept” of their use.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You can never predict parliamentary votes but we’ve got a majority of 80 and I’m very confident we can pass the legislation we require.

“I don’t know what the proposed vote will be, you can never tell what the actual vote in the House of Commons in terms of the wording and what the position is.

1626939325

Asked about a warning from Iceland managing director Richard Walker, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He was right to say shoppers shouldn’t be panicking.

“I don’t quite know what he meant that the Government should be panicking, I’m not panicking.”

1626938374

The managing director of Iceland has said staff absence rates are now double the usual number, with the figure rising 50 per cent “week on week” due to people being told to self-isolate by the NHS app.

Richard Walker told the Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve now got over 1,000 staff off, who are who’ve been pinged. That’s double the normal rates, and it’s rising at 50 per cent week on week.

“Our big concern is that we’ve kept all of our shops open throughout the pandemic, but now we have had to close one or two shops and reduce hours in others.

“But that could get a lot worse a lot quicker, unless the country’s system is sorted out.”

Mr Walker urged shoppers not to panic-buy, saying: “There is certainly no problem with supply of stock.

“Panic-buying is only an option for those who can afford it and it often means that others go without.”

1626937683

The head of the British Retail Consortium has suggested rules around self-isolation could be amended for people working in food supply chains following rising levels of staff absence.

“Either those (self-isolation) rules need to change or something else in the wall of defences against the virus needs to be considered,” Helen Dickinson told BBC Breakfast.

Ms Dickinson said she was not calling for the app to be ditched but added: “I want to be really clear that the … disruption that we are already seeing will only get worse.”

She said bringing forward the date double-vaccinated people will not need to self-isolate if they come into contact with a Covid-19 case could be one solution.

“There are some pilots for tested release for businesses and people who get paid to test themselves and then released back into their workplace, those pilots could be extended or that could be a new system,” Ms Dickinson said.

1626935205

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said a list of critical workers who will be eligible for loosened isolation rules if pinged by the Covid app will be drawn up “very soon”.

No 10 has previously said “we’re not going to be producing a list covering individual sectors”.

Mr Kwarteng said he was “very concerned” about the situation following reports of shortages on supermarket shelves.

He told Sky News: “We’re going to announce a list of exempt workers. The list of exemptions will be quite narrow because, obviously, you have to draw the line somewhere.”

Mr Kwarteng would not say who would be on the list or say whether it would come this week, but insisted it would be “very soon”.

1626933943

People in England are being urged to continue wearing face coverings in crowded places, and use the NHS Covid-19 app to check in to venues, despite legal requirements to do so being lifted.

An official information campaign, which will hit airwaves, newspapers and other media from Thursday, will see the Government replace its “hands, face, space, fresh air” slogan with its new catchphrase: “Keep life moving.”

The campaign video fronted by TV doctor Dr Amir Khan will also recommend people continue to follow social distancing guidance, as the film shows a young man stepping off a pavement to allow an older neighbour to pass.

The advice comes despite Monday being trumpeted as England’s “freedom day”,

1626933813

A food distribution company struggling with staff shortages is advising workers who are pinged by the app to follow a testing regime and continue working, in breach of the Government advice.

Bidfood chief executive Andrew Selley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We know that they’re critical workers as part of the food supply chain, so if people are obviously positive or contacted by Test and Trace then they will have to isolate.

“If they are pinged we ask them to take a PCR test, if that’s positive then clearly they’ll isolate, but if it’s negative we ask them to come back to work and we have a process of doing lateral flow tests daily away from their workplace, and if that’s negative they can proceed with their work.”

Told the Government advice is otherwise, he said: “We think that’s appropriate and safe. The ping is advisory. We operate in Covid-safe workplaces and we’re absolutely key workers in terms of the supply chain to hospitals, care homes, prisons, and therefore it’s important for us to be able to keep offering that service to our customers.”

1626933493

…and welcome to Thursday’s coronavirus live blog! We’ll keep you up to date with the main developments throughout the day.


... read more
– July 22, 2021
Pingdemic COVID19 Govt very concerned39; about impact of pingdemic39; with

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