The NHS Covid-19 app has put a record 600,000 people under quarantine orders in the UK by 14 July as worker shortages from the latest wave of the pandemic threaten to disrupt food and fuel supplies. received.
The number of “pings” on the NHS Covid Test and Trace app that tell you people who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus is about 17% higher than the 607,486 total in the UK last week.
An additional 11,417 contact tracing alerts were sent from Wales, with the latest figures released by the Ministry of Health on Thursday. However, growth has slowed compared to last week, when the number of alerts rose 46% to over 520,000 alerts.
During the same week ending 14 July, daily Covid-19 cases in the UK increased by more than 60%, the highest since mid-January.
UK business leaders are increasingly shaken by Brexit and the impact of the “pingdemic” on staffing, which has exacerbated existing problems caused by the shortage of truck drivers.
On Thursday, BP said it had closed “some sites” due to shortages of unleaded gasoline and diesel, and business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the government was “monitoring” the situation as supermarkets apologized for empty shelves.
BP said: “Some retailers in the UK are experiencing fuel supply problems and we have seen some sites temporarily closed due to the lack of both unleaded and diesel grades, unfortunately.”
The company said “most of these temporary problems” would be resolved within a day, but added that the problem with the UK’s driver shortage was exacerbated by the lockdown of logistics terminals last week due to COVID-19 quarantine.
Quarteng said the government was “very concerned” about the situation on Thursday morning after photos of empty supermarket shelves on the front pages of social media and some British newspapers.
The minister told BBC Radio 4.
Business groups have urged the government to accelerate plans to exempt all double-jabs from self-isolation starting August 16, even if the government recommends self-isolation after being “pinged” from the NHS testing and tracking app.
The government has announced exemptions for some sectors identified as important, including health and transportation. More details will be announced Thursday afternoon, Kwarteng said.
The UK retail consortium says the “pingdemic” is putting pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain business hours and keep inventory in the aisle. “Government must act quickly.”
Iceland Foods, meanwhile, said more than 1,000 employees, 3% of all UK employees, were asked to self-isolate after being pinged by the app, reducing transaction times and closing stores.
It plans to hire an additional 2,000 employees in case of absence from work due to self-quarantine. However, Icelandic managing director Richard Walker told the BBC that the photos of the empty shelves are “an isolated incident” and warned the public about panic buying.
Kwarteng argued that food shortages were “not universal.”
“I don’t want people to get the impression that every shelf in every supermarket is empty. It is not,” he said.
“But we are certainly concerned about supply shortfalls and supply chains in critical industries. We are reviewing the situation,” he added.
According to the Ministry of Health, the number of people using the NHS testing and tracking app to sign up for pubs, stores and other places has dropped 10% compared to last week As more people later became close to someone who tested positive for the virus in the fall, they may have disabled or deleted the app to avoid quarantine.
According to a recent YouGov survey, 1 in 10 previous users of the app uninstalled the app, and 1 in 5 users who still installed the app turned off contact tracking.
The app sends a notification recommending self-quarantine after using the smartphone’s Bluetooth signal to anonymously detect when the user later spent close time with someone who tested positive for the virus. The NHS Covid app has sent more than 4 million alerts in England and Wales since its launch in September.
Kwarteng argued that individuals should still be quarantined if they come into contact through the system. “I would strongly recommend that they continue to do so,” he said.
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