Pingdemic hits supermarkets as airports gear up for travel getaway

T

he so-called pingdemic has been blamed for empty shelves at supermarkets as food industry workers are forced to self-isolate.

Several major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have said they are facing problems, as staff and delivery drivers are forced to isolate after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19.

The British Meat Processors’ Association warned the UK’s food supply chains are “right on the edge of failing” as Covid-19-related absence aggravates a critical shortage of labour.

It comes as airports across the country prepare for the busiest weekend of the year, with reports more than 2,100 flights will carry up to 393,000 passengers to major European destinations after most schools break up.

Live updates

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New campaign urges Britons to keep up ‘second nature’ behaviour like mask-wearing

People in England are being urged to continue wearing face coverings in crowded places, and use the NHS Covid-19 app to check in to venues, despite legal requirements to do so being lifted.

An official information campaign, which will hit airwaves, newspapers and other media from Thursday, will see the Government replace its “hands, face, space, fresh air” slogan with its new catchphrase: “Keep life moving.”

The campaign video fronted by TV doctor Dr Amir Khan will also recommend people continue to follow social distancing guidance, as the film shows a young man stepping off a pavement to allow an older neighbour to pass.

The advice comes despite Monday being trumpeted as England’s “freedom day”,

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A food company is encouraging its staff to breach Government advice on self isolating

A food distribution company struggling with staff shortages is advising workers who are pinged by the app to follow a testing regime and continue working, in breach of the Government advice.

Bidfood chief executive Andrew Selley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We know that they’re critical workers as part of the food supply chain, so if people are obviously positive or contacted by Test and Trace then they will have to isolate.

“If they are pinged we ask them to take a PCR test, if that’s positive then clearly they’ll isolate, but if it’s negative we ask them to come back to work and we have a process of doing lateral flow tests daily away from their workplace, and if that’s negative they can proceed with their work.”

Told the Government advice is otherwise, he said: “We think that’s appropriate and safe. The ping is advisory. We operate in Covid-safe workplaces and we’re absolutely key workers in terms of the supply chain to hospitals, care homes, prisons, and therefore it’s important for us to be able to keep offering that service to our customers.”

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Good morning

…and welcome to Thursday’s coronavirus live blog! We’ll keep you up to date with the main developments throughout the day.

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