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World 'Pingdemic' grips Britain as fears of food shortages grow

11:00  22 july  2021
11:00  22 july  2021 Source:   reuters.com

UK seeks to avert shortages with COVID tests for food staff

  UK seeks to avert shortages with COVID tests for food staff LONDON (AP) — The British government has sought to ease food supply pressures in England by exempting certain workers from quarantine rules. In an announcement late Thursday following mounting pressure from retailers facing staff shortages and empty shelves, it outlined plans for daily COVID-19 testing of critical food industry workers that will effectively allow those who test negative to continue working even if they have been notified on their phones to self-isolate due to contact with someone with the virus.

British Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he was concerned by a so-called 'pingdemic' in which hundreds of thousands of workers have been told to isolate by an official app as fears grew of food and fuel shortages . Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at industry lobby group, the British Retail Consortium, said the government needed to act swiftly. “Retail workers and suppliers, who have played a vital role throughout this pandemic , should be allowed to work provided they are double vaccinated or can show a negative COVID test, to ensure there is no disruption to the public’s ability to get food

Fears of food shortages unless an extra 40,000 people volunteer to pick crops for the £15-an-hour Land Army within weeks – amid warnings produce from abroad is also set to dry up because of travel bans, fewer flights and rising freight costs. The UK faces food shortages unless 70,000 Britons 'do their duty' by harvesting the country's fruit and vegetables for £15-an-hour with the global pandemic also disrupting the flow of imported goods, MailOnline can reveal today. More than 30,000 people have asked to join a new 'Land Army' to 'pick for Britain ' and 'feed the nation' - but it is still 40,000 short of what is

LONDON (Reuters) - British Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he was concerned by a so-called 'pingdemic' in which hundreds of thousands of workers have been told to isolate by an official app as fears grew of food and fuel shortages.

a man standing in front of a store: FILE PHOTO: A man stands next to shelves empty of fresh meat in a supermarket, as the number of worldwide coronavirus cases continues to grow, in London © Reuters/Henry Nicholls FILE PHOTO: A man stands next to shelves empty of fresh meat in a supermarket, as the number of worldwide coronavirus cases continues to grow, in London

"We're very concerned about the situation," Kwarteng said when asked about reports of empty supermarket shelves in some areas. "We're monitoring the situation."

Pictures on social media showed large gaps on supermarket shelves as the “pingdemic” put pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and stock shelves.

ITV CEO on U.K. “Pingdemic,” Benefiting From Hollywood’s Streaming Focus

  ITV CEO on U.K. “Pingdemic,” Benefiting From Hollywood’s Streaming Focus U.K. TV giant ITV sees the fact that Hollywood and other media giants are increasingly keeping their content for their own streaming services as a chance for its ITV Studios production arm, CEO Carolyn McCall said on Wednesday. “People (are) taking back their catalogs – if you are Disney, you have taken everything back, if you are Warners, you have taken everything back, you just name it, every single company that produces content has taken all their content back to do their own streaming, which means that streamers always need content,” she said during a press call after the company’s mid-year financial update.

Britain could face a shortage of fresh produce and greens due to transport chaos at the border as tortuous Brexit talks linger and more countries shut borders after the emergence of a more contagious Covid-19 variant in England. France on Sunday decided to prevent freight travelling through the key port of Dover, through which 10,000 heavy goods vehicles pass each day. "Yesterday’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France has the potential to cause serious disruption to UK Christmas fresh food supplies – and exports of UK food and drink," said Ian Wright, CEO of the Food and Drink Federation.

Many British families today cannot even afford food , as the coronavirus pandemic has robbed them of their jobs and livelihoods. Foodbank warehouse – Sorting food . The Bank of England predicts that the unemployment rate will reach 8% by the middle of next year, despite the fact that the government has extended the program to subsidize jobs until the end of March. The Trussell Trust, a charity that operates hundreds of food banks across Britain , predicts that workload will rise 61% between October and December.


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Britain’s food supply chains are “right on the edge of failing” as absence related to COVID-19 has aggravated a critical shortage of labour, a meat industry body said on Wednesday.

Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at industry lobby group, the British Retail Consortium, said the government needed to act swiftly.

“Retail workers and suppliers, who have played a vital role throughout this pandemic, should be allowed to work provided they are double vaccinated or can show a negative COVID test, to ensure there is no disruption to the public’s ability to get food and other goods,” he said.

Alerts, or "pings", from the official app telling anyone identified as a contact of someone with the disease to self-isolate for 10 days have also disrupted schools and the healthcare system.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton)

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