UK exempts key workers from quarantine due to staff shortage | Coronavirus pandemic news
Officials have relaxed the self-isolation rules for a series of basic staff to alleviate the interference of “epidemics.”
The British government announced that it will relax the coronavirus quarantine rules for thousands of essential workers in order to end the shortage of personnel that hinders the economy.
Approximately 26 million Britons have downloaded a health service phone app that can “ping” people, telling them to self-quarantine for 10 days if they are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
As the UK has recently recorded tens of thousands of new virus cases every day, the system has led to the so-called “pingdemic“During this period, the absenteeism rate of employees in restaurants and other companies soared, and some supermarket shelves appeared gaps.
Starting on August 16, anyone who has been fully vaccinated can be tested for coronavirus every day instead of self-isolating.
But many companies are pushing for change to happen as soon as possible.
Last week, the government stated that food and transportation workers, border workers, police and firefighters can choose to conduct daily tests.
Late Monday, it expanded the system to include more jobs, including garbage collectors and prison staff, as well as those working in the armed forces.
The government stated that it will set up 2,000 sites to meet the growing demand for testing.
One person “pinged” by the app was Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had to self-isolate after Health Minister Sajid Javid tested positive this month.
Johnson’s 10-day quarantine period ended at midnight on Monday.
Johnson said he understands people’s frustrations, but urges them to “stick to the plan.”
“We do need to use the tools we have. Self-isolation is what we have. I urge people to do this,” he said.
The law does not require people notified by the app to self-quarantine. And there are reports that people have deleted the app from their phones.
The contact tracking function of the application can also be turned off.
Johnson lifted most of the remaining pandemic restrictions in England on July 19, including mandatory mask rules and capacity restrictions, despite the highly contagious delta virus causing the number of infections to rise for several weeks.
Despite the remission, the number of cases has declined for six consecutive days. The number of confirmed infections on Monday was 24,950, a drop of more than one-third from the number a week ago.
Scientists say that this decline may reflect the end of the 2020 European Football Championship, which has attracted a large number of people to games, bars and parties, and recently the end of the school year for most students.
The UK has also vaccinated 70% of adults with two doses of coronavirus vaccine.
However, the authorities warned that the impact of the end of the restrictions on July 19 has not yet been reflected in the figures.
Johnson said, “It is very, very important that we do not allow ourselves to make premature conclusions about the infection rate.”
“People have to be very cautious, this is still the government’s approach,” he said.