‘Pingdemic’: Could BoJo’s approach to self-isolation close down UK economy rather than open it up?

‘Pingdemic’: Could BoJo’s approach to self-isolation close down UK economy rather than open it up?


The Boris Johnson government’s partial exemptions from self-isolation rules for food industry workers sound good; but is definitely not enough as other sectors of the British economy have grown weary of COVID rules and have yet to feel the benefits of the 19 July; removal of restrictions, UK businessmen say.


The UK’s “pingdemic” has emptied supermarket shelves across England; as thousands of food sector workers were “pinged” on their phones to self-isolate for 10 days; by the NHS test-and-trace app because they had been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19.


To tackle the problem the British government has exempted supermarket depot workers and food manufacturers from self-isolating; in order to prevent supermarket shelves in the country from going empty. Up to 10,000 staff workers are expected to qualify for the scheme.

ALSO READ: Self-isolation key part of UK’s Covid fight, says minister

Lack of Clear Guidance

The measure has been deemed insufficient; with the supermarket chain Iceland expressing “deep disappointment” over the store’s workers being omitted from the list.


The food industry’s logistics won’t work smoothly; if depot workers and food manufacturers are exempted from the self-isolation list while there is no one to put products on the shelves, serve customers at the register, and deliver to their homes, argues Richard Walker; managing director of the Iceland supermarket group, in an official statement.


On the other hand, details and clear guidance are still missing on how the new scheme should be applied to individual companies and workers; with the British Meat Processors Association wondering as to what key supply chain workers are exempted.


“It’s also not yet clear which workers at other sites that are not on that list will be exempt from self-isolation”, the organisation notes in a statement. “In this separate scheme, we understand that companies will need to apply for exemption for individual workers on a job-by-job and person-by-person basis but we don’t know what jobs would be eligible”.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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