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COVID-19: Around 10,000 food supply chain workers will become exempt from self-isolation rules as daily testing is phased in | UK News


Around 10,000 workers in the food supply chain business are to become exempt from coronavirus self-isolation rules – however this will not embrace grocery store employees, the federal government has mentioned.

Environment Secretary George Eustice mentioned the federal government has recognized “up to 500” distribution centres and food supply chain hubs the place workers may very well be a part of the scheme.

Anyone concerned will quickly not need to isolate for as much as 10 days if they arrive into contact with a optimistic coronavirus case.

Mr Eustice mentioned the exemption will start for 15 “priority testing sites” on Friday, with workers there shifting on to a daily testing regime enabling them to enter work in the event that they check adverse every day, as a substitute of getting to quarantine.

Empty cabinets have been noticed in current days as many workers have been compelled into self-isolation after being pinged by the app

The system will then be rolled out to an additional 150 grocery store depots subsequent week and “several hundred” food producers thereafter, Mr Eustice mentioned.

“We recognise there are some employees absences in the food supply chain so what we’re asserting is for the highest form of 400 or so websites, issues like grocery store depots and among the key food producers, we will change the system and allow them to check to return to work.

“So somebody who is contacted in future by Test and Trace or is pinged will have the ability to have daily contact testing for seven days and [will] have the ability to keep it up working offering their check stays adverse.

Mr Eustice mentioned the brand new exemption will apply to “probably close to 10,000, possibly more staff” together with grocery store depots and distribution centres.

George Eustice

George Eustice mentioned the scene wouldn’t apply to buy ground grocery store employees as this could see a ‘main departure’ from the check, hint and isolate scheme

“Anybody who is working at one of these sites but who is currently isolating would be able to return to work and go into this testing regime instead of continuing to isolate,” Mr Eustice mentioned.

Pressed on why grocery store retailer employees aren’t included in the plans, the atmosphere secretary mentioned that might be “a big departure” from the present check, hint and isolate method.

It comes as corporations have warned of accelerating employees shortages brought on by folks being compelled to self-isolate by the NHS COVID app.

Iceland mentioned on Monday that it has needed to shut some shops as a outcome and different retailers mentioned they’re beneath “increasing pressure” to maintain cabinets totally stocked as a result of so-called “pingdemic”.

Business group the CBI mentioned supply points might hamper the nation’s financial restoration from COVID-19.

But on Thursday at a roundtable with grocery store leaders, Mr Eustice and newly-appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid outlined plans for daily contact testing for workers in the food and drink industries.

A woman wears a mask during a trip to the supermarket

The authorities has mentioned folks don’t must panic purchase

If they check optimistic, they need to nonetheless self-isolate for the total 10 days.

The authorities mentioned it will proceed to “engage” with the food sector and “provide all support needed”.

Mr Eustice described food companies as the “hidden heroes of the pandemic”.

“We are working closely with industry to allow staff to go about their essential work safely with daily testing,” he mentioned.

“The last 18 months have demonstrated that we have a highly resilient food supply chain. There are sufficient food supplies in the system and people can and should shop as normal.”

And Mr Javid added that food and drink sector workers have “overcome enormous challenges and done everything they can to keep our shelves stocked and our fridges full”.

“As we manage this virus and do everything we can to break chains of transmission, daily contact testing of workers in this vital sector will help to minimise the disruption caused by rising cases in the coming weeks, while ensuring workers are not put at risk,” he mentioned.

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Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng advised Sky News the federal government is ‘involved’ by the so-called ‘pingdemic’

The authorities added that “critical roles in the food supply chain” will additionally apply to the brand new isolation rule.

“Employers are already in contact with Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and approvals will follow shortly for named critical workers to attend their workplaces when they’re fully vaccinated and the contact of a positive case,” they mentioned.

Earlier on Thursday, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng advised Kay Burley on Sky News the record of these exempt from isolation could be “quite narrow”.

Responding to the announcement, Helen Dickinson, chief government of the British Retail Consortium, mentioned: “We welcome the government’s rapid response to this unfolding ‘pingdemic’, which has impacted shops and distribution centres.

“Retailers are working carefully with authorities to determine tons of of key distribution websites that will profit from the brand new daily contact testing scheme. It is completely important that authorities makes up for misplaced time and rolls out this new scheme as quick as attainable.

“Disruption is limited at the moment, and retailers are monitoring the situation closely. Government will need to continue to listen to the concerns of the retail industry in the coming days and must be prepared to take further action if necessary.”

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