Workers in 16 key departments, including health, transportation and energy, will not have to self-isolate after being questioned by the NHS Covid app, as it has been revealed that more than 600,000 people in England and Wales have received warnings from 'self-isolation last week.
The series of changes, after days of frantic discussions with industry executives, came amid 'an open conservative revolt against the so-calledt "pingdemic " with the Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warning government he was facing a crisis of public confidence in the system .
As panicked shoppers shared images of empty shelves attributed to a shortage of workers, the government also announced Thursday night that a Daily testing pilot program would be extended to 500 food and beverage supply chain employers - although retail supermarket staff will not qualify.
Meanwhile, Downing Street said companies wishing to take advantage of the separate exemptions for essential workers should go directly to the relevant Whitehall department for them. covers to get an autorization. to get staff back to work. The policy will only apply to workers appointed to approved workplaces who are fully vaccinated.
The guide lists 16 sectors: energy, civil nuclear , digital infrastructure, food production and supply, waste, water, veterinary drugs, essential chemicals, essential transport, drugs, medical devices, clinical consumables, emergency services, control, essential defense and local government.
But he adds that "in some exceptional cases" there may be critical roles in other areas which could be agreed on a case by case basis. Separate arrangements are in place for health and primary care staff.
The move came after it was announced that a record number of 618,903 people in England and Wales received self-isolation alerts last week, and as images circulated of empty supermarket shelves caused by staff shortages and delivery delays spread across the UK.
With reports of people dropping the NHS Covid app en masse to avoid alerting, Hunt said it was time to revise the system for everyone, saying ministers should "immediately remove the 10-day segregation requirement for people who have been double-hit in favor of segregation until they did a negative PCR test… Otherwise, we risk losing social consent for this very, very important weapon against the virus. The requirement will be dropped for all people with a double injection.t under-18s on Aug. 16.
Mark Harper, who chairs the Covid Recovery Group of Tory backbenchers, supported an immediate review. "The danger is that a lot of people will remove or stop listening to the app, and then when we get to August 16, they won't get any advice to take a PCR test, and we will in fact be made less secure. "he said.
Guidelines for exempt services released by the government on Thursday night said not all workers would be approved, even if 'they belonged to a relevant sector, in a relatively narrow list of exemptions designed to target the most pressing issues posed by the crisis.
He said that an exception may be suitable in critical roles such as railway signaling, but was less likely to be suitable for individual train drivers.
"This is to demonstrate that this will have a major impact on the provision of essential services," a Whitehall source mentioned. "There will be places where it applies differently to one person on and not another.
Once approved, workers contacted by testing and trace or the NHS application would be exempt from isolation if they were doubly vaccinated - although they do require a negative PCR test and must perform daily lateral flow tests for 10 days.
The government previously said there would be no list of critical workers exempted from isolation rules, while leaders of the Industry were told that any change would be of limited scope - sparking frustration among business leaders as the situation rapidly escalated.
A separate con testing driverDaily tact will also begin at critical workplaces in the food supply chain so that contacts who would otherwise self-isolate can instead be tested daily. Previous pilots have reported mixed results in forcing workers to take on-site testing, even on days off.
Environment Secretary George Eustice, hosted a roundtable with supermarket executives, telling them that test sites have already been identified with the industry for urgent implementation this week, including larger supermarket distribution centers, with expansion to hundreds of sites to start next week.
This means workers who have received an alert from the NHS Covid-19 app for isolate or which have been called by test and trace will be able to continue working if they arenegatives.
CBI business lobby group managing director Tony Danker had warned that businesses across Britain were at risk of "s ' stop "without a quick change of direction from ministers.
" The current approach to self-isolation shuts down the economy rather than opening it, "he said.
On Thursday, the co-op announced it was hiring 3,000 temporary workers to help to cover absences in its grocery stores and warehouses caused by the increase in Covid cases, as the Pret a Manger cafe ch ain said it had to temporarily close 17 outlets and Milk & More's home service admitted that some customers had missed deliveries.
The cooperative said it was taking over. more workers because it was undergoing an "unequal disruption" caused in part by the application.on NHS.
A spokesperson for the co-op said, “We're sorry we're running low on some products. Like many retailers, we are affected by uneven disruption to our deliveries and in-store operations, but we are working closely with our suppliers to restock quickly. "
Lait & More said they were able to make 95% of their deliveries on time, but admitted " in very few areas, unfortunately some customers have experienced late or missed deliveries ".
A spokesperson said:" This is due to a combination of factors, including a shortage of drivers (like many other companies, we had to difficulty in recruiting staff), combined with a high number of our colleagues in front ofisolate yourself accordingly. tracking and traceability. "
Pret declined to comment on the temporary store closures, but it is understood that they are related to Staff shortages related to NHS notifications.
This comes as business groups push behind the scenes for other actions, convinced that a narrowly defined list of exemptions the liberal professions would not go far enough to address widespread disruption in the economy.
Urging the government to Going further, representatives of the UK's largest business lobby groups have warned ministers they need to move the date forward to August 16.
Ministers had been reluctant to act despite the lifting of most pandemic restrictions on Monday, insisting time neededs before dropping the self-isolation rule as coronavirus infections skyrocket. The government had been warned that lifting the requirement on July 19 would result in up to 25% more cases than waiting another four weeks to do so.
Union leaders said some employers had started cutting back on staff shortages, including rolling back workplace protections, such as strengthened cleaning measures, a direct result of mixed messages from the government .
Matt Draper, national manager of drivers and warehouse workers at Unite union, said ministers urgently need to ensure that workers were properly paid to self-isolate if they got cracked by the NHS Covid app and rules requiring the mandatory wearing of masks on public transport, in stores and inns reception areas had to be put back in place.
"Allow frontline workers such as truck drivers not to isolate themselves If they're nuts may alleviate short-term supermarket supply problems, but it won't do anything to reduce infection rates, "he said.