A MILLION people have been pinged by the NHS Covid app in just one week – sparking a UK wide “pingdemic”.
But what is the pingdemic and what chaos has it caused? Here’s all you need to know…
A pingdemic is sweeping the nation[/caption]
What is the pingdemic ?
A pingdemic is sweeping the nation, with pubs, factories, hospitals and airports being forced to shut because of staff isolations.
This means a staggering two million Brits are thought to be stuck at home.
Why has the pingdemic caused chaos?
Before the summer break parents were pulling kids out of school early to avoid being pinged and having to cancel breaks or self-isolate ahead of the summer holidays.
A Tube line had to be suspended with two others affected after the pingdemic cut staff numbers.
Train services were affected by a staff shortage triggered when workers were told to self-isolate.
And Marks and Spencer could be forced to reduce its hours as supermarket bosses warn the pingdemic crisis could leave shelves EMPTY, it has been reported.
Retailers have warned of a “massive disruption” to food supplies due to staff shortages in supermarkets and at factories which make the goods you see on shop shelves..
A senior M&S executive told The Times that they run the risk of not having enough staff to open stores because of spiralling infections and the number of people self-isolating.
How does contact tracing work in the UK?
The test, track and trace strategy has been one of the key measures in helping businesses reopen safely through the pandemic as the nationwide vaccine rollout has gathered pace.
The NHS Test and Trace Service initially launched with a team of 25,000 contact tracers on May 28, 2020, and has since been downloaded by an estimated five million people.
Anyone who has come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the deadly bug will be told to self-isolate.
People have been checking in on the app for track and trace[/caption]
What are the consequences of so many people isolating?
The crisis is hitting supermarkets’ opening hours and starting to cause gaps in fresh meat, salad, bottled drinks and freezer sections.
There was a shortage of fresh fruit and veg, fridge food, water, beer and kitchen roll at a Tesco in Cambridge, while nearby Asda ran short of bread and greens.
Police response times are being affected as some forces experience “higher levels of absence”, it has been suggested.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said that in some forces, functions such as control room operations are seeing higher staff absences than the national police absence rate, which is 7.3 per cent.
This has an impact on a force’s ability to respond quickly to calls from the public, the NPCC said.
Deliveries of letters and packages have been disrupted after a wave of postal staff have been forced into Covid self-isolation.
Has Boris Johnson made any changes to NHS Covid app?
Essential workers in the energy industry, telecoms, food supply and parts of law enforcement will be allowed to head out to work if they have a Covid contact.
THE ESSENTIAL WORKERS WHO CAN AVOID SELF-ISOLATING:
Double jabbed workers who can avoid self-isolating if pinged:
- Railway signallers
- Air traffic controllers
- NHS staff
- Care home workers
- Food production workers
- Train drivers
- Medicine manufacturers
- Border security guards
- Water and electricity supply workers
He said on July 19: “I want to assure you that we will protect crucial services including the staffing of our hospitals and care homes, the supplies of food, water, electricity and medicines, the running of our trains, the protection of our borders and the defence of our realm, by making sure that a very small number of named, fully vaccinated, critical workers to leave isolation solely for this work.”
The PM added: “But for the vast majority of us, myself included, we do need to stick with the system for now.”
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When will the rules around self-isolation for close contacts change?
Plans to exempt double-jabbed Brits from isolation do not kick in until August 16, and this is unlikely to change.
But Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned that people who test positive will still have to self-isolate for 10 days even if they’re jabbed.
Close contacts will still be urged to get a gold-standard PCR test to “get certainty” that they’re not infected.