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England could face a summer of venue closures, travel disruption and food supply woes, industry leaders are warning, with one branding Boris Johnson’s planned measures to ease the strain of the so-called “pingdemic” as “worse than useless”.
Pressure is growing on the prime minister to bring forward plans to exempt double-vaccinated people from self-isolation requirements as of 16 August, as staff shortages see rail operators across the country already forced to slim down services, supermarket shelves empty of stock and businesses temporarily shuttered during the supposed peak season.
The British Medical Association warned the problem lies not with “excessive pinging” of the NHS Covid-19 app, but with the government’s coronavirus strategy which has caused “rocketing case numbers”. The doctors’ union is calling for an “urgent rethink” and “more stringent infection control measures to decisively bring down the spiralling spread of this virus.
Boris Johnson urged to bring forward isolation exemption for double-jabbed
In a bid to prevent staffing crises, industry leaders and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, have written to Boris Johnson to urge him to bring forward plans to exempt double-vaccinated people from self-isolation by 16 August.
Amid rising coronavirus cases, Mr Khan teamed up with UKHospitality, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the capital’s branch of the Federation of Small Businesses to demand change.
“The summer months are crucial for many businesses’ recovery and their ability to recover must not be put in jeopardy,” they said.
“We are therefore calling on you to ensure that the necessary testing is in place to enable people who have been double vaccinated for longer than two weeks and pinged by the NHS Covid app, to immediately return to work, following a negative PCR test, rather than having to self-isolate.”
BMA calls for ‘urgent rethink’ of government’s Covid strategy
The British Medical Association, the top trade union for doctors, has called for an “urgent rethink” of the government’s Covid strategy, arguing that it is “not working” and leading to rising pressure on health services, our science correspondent Samuel Lovett reports.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA council, said Downing Street should never have abandoned restrictions amid soaring infections in the UK, adding that the situation will “continue to worsen as a result”.
He also questioned the mounting focus on the “excessive pinging” of the NHS app, which is the direct result of the government’s decision to allow the virus to “let rip” throughout the nation, at the risk of endangering thousands of more lives and fuelling a long-Covid crisis.
‘The government must now put into action more stringent infection control measures to decisively bring down the spiralling spread of this virus,’ says chair of the BMA council
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