Tests to replace self-isolation of some “pinged” food supply chain workers

The British government has extended the exemption from self-isolation to about 10,000 “significant” workers amid the scene of empty supermarket shelves, fear of hoarding, and public transport turmoil.

The plan will run until August 16th, and while all double-jab people can use negative tests to avoid self-quarantine, the government is under pressure to move the date forward.

The union has criticized the government for a “fragmented” approach to addressing the problem, saying the current proposal “does not reflect the real world.”

In a late Thursday announcement following increasing pressure from increasingly nasty retailers, the government announced daily COVID-19 testing of some food industry workers and “significant workers” in other major sectors, as well as the virus. If contact with someone infected with the virus tells you to self-quarantine by phone, you will continue to work.

According to the updated guidance, “In a few situations where close contact self-isolation causes serious disruption to critical services, a limited number of designated workers have specific controls for the purpose of doing business. Only important work that may be able to leave self-isolation underneath. “

This policy applies only to designated workers if the employer receives a letter from the relevant government sector.

“This is not a full tax exemption for all workers in the sector,” Guidance said.

Employers are required to contact the relevant government department if they believe that the self-isolation of a particular key employee as a contact will cause serious disruption to critical services.

Individuals identified as contacts need to participate in work only in “a key element of the country’s infrastructure”, and their absence “may lead to loss or compromise of this infrastructure” is important. Significant impact on national security if it has a “significant adverse effect” on the provision of services.

Guidance emphasizes that the process “does not cover all or even most of the workers in important sectors” and people in important rail signal roles may be exempt, but individual drivers It was suggested that it is unlikely to be applied to.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News on Friday that the food industry exemption was “nearly 500 major sites, including about 170 supermarket warehouses, and hundreds of other major sites such as bread makers and dairy companies. It covers manufacturers. ” “But not the staff of the supermarket.

IPhone photo showing NHSCOVID-19 mobile phone contact tracing application on September 24, 2020. (FrankAugstein / AP Photo)

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said the government needed to clarify who it would classify as an important worker.

“Current proposals do not reflect the real world because businesses do not exist in isolation. They are part of a complex supply chain,” says O’Grady.

Former Health Minister Jeremy Hunt told Congress Thursday that the government would “lose social consent” for quarantine if it did not immediately proceed with the relaxation of the quarantine rules for full vaccination, which is currently scheduled for August 16. “There is a risk, he said.

This was repeated by Greg Clark, a former business secretary and current chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Commission.

Tory lawmakers told BBC Radio 4’s World at One program: Instead of waiting, I don’t know why I can’t start it on July 23rd. “

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith had previously questioned the logic behind the self-isolation of vaccinated people if vaccination appeared to be working.

Commenting on the vaccine passport in a crowded venue, Duncan Smith asked: As another step scheduled to begin in September: Do you guys and tell them to lock down if they have two vaccines? “

PA and Associated Press contributed to this report.