Shoppers 'could face empty shelves in 48 hours amid pingdemic', PM warned
This comes after huge numbers of staff have been forced to self-isolate after being pinged on the NHS app
Supermarkets and other shops around the UK could face empty shelves as thousands of employees from chains around the country have been told to self-isolate on the NHS Track and Trace system.
As well as workers within stores such as Sainsbury's, Iceland and Tesco having to self-isolate, the logistics side of things has also been affected, with BP having temporarily closed some of its petrol stations due to fuel supply problems, and HGV drivers unsure whether they need to self-isolate if pinged.
BREAKING: Supermarket giant Sainsbury's says it is working hard to ensure customers can find what they need amid reports of shortages, and is delivering large quantities of products to stores daily.
Live updates: https://t.co/Ffw87CsX6C pic.twitter.com/dYHfzMSurS
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 22, 2021
Iceland's managing director, Richard Walker, said he has been forced to hire 2,000 temporary workers to cover absences caused by the 'pingdemic'. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he urged the PM for further clarity from the government over who and who should be heeding the advice of the app.
Walker also went on to warn the general public about panic buying as was seen in the early days of the first lockdown: "Individuals have a large role to play to shop responsibly. Panic buying is only an option for those who can afford it. Once shelves are stripped bare it is the most vulnerable that actually suffer. "There is no need to panic buy."
Also speaking to GMB, Kwasi Kwarteng admitted that the government is "very concerned" by reports of food shortages on shelves and that a list of critical workers eligible for loosened restrictions if pinged by the Covid app will be drawn up "very soon".
Business Secretary @KwasiKwarteng is challenged about the chaos the pingdemic has caused for the police and businesses including shops.
He refuses to go into detail about the guidance for different sectors where people may be exempt from the rule to self-isolate. pic.twitter.com/uQtIAsiis7
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) July 22, 2021
Iceland has closed "a number of stores" already, with 1,000 workers (four per cent of its workforce) being told to self-isolate, and M&S fear that 20% of its staff could be self-isolating by next month. As well as concerns that we could be back in lockdown within five weeks, the pingdemic is just one of many challenges posed as we try to get back to normal.