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UK Food Workers Freed From Covid Isolation

The average number of daily cases in England is around 41,000, and hospitalisations and deaths are rising too although at a much lower level than during previous waves, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

The government has allowed key parts of the food industry to do daily Covid testing from Friday instead of asking staff to self-isolate, media reported.

Daily testing would be implemented at key sites, such as supermarket depots and food manufacturers, the government said.

Close to 10,000 staff at 500 sites in the UK will eventually be affected, the BBC reported.

The latest move comes as supermarket bosses warn of severe staff shortages after thousands received alerts to self-isolate. They said supply of some products was being affected by the “pingdemic” keeping staff away from work, as a record 618,903 people were told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid app in England and Wales, it was reported.

The new daily contact testing measures will begin at 15 supermarket depots from Friday, followed by 150 depots next week, but it will not apply to supermarket store staff.

It will mean depot workers who are alerted by the app or contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be able to continue working if they test negative, whether or not they are vaccinated.

The government is also planning to allow other key industries to deploy daily Covid testing instead of self-isolation for a limited number of essential workers who are fully vaccinated.

This scheme covers sectors including transport, emergency services, border control, energy, digital infrastructure, waste, the water industry, essential defence outputs and local government, the BBC reported.

Meanwhile, UK has reported another 39,906 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 5,602,321, according to official figures released on Thursday.

The country also recorded another 84 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now standing at 128,980. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test, the Xinhua news agency reported.

England has recently lifted most Covid-19 restrictions as part of the final step of the roadmap out of the lockdown. Scientists have warned that lifting all restrictions at this stage could increase likelihood of dangerous variants.

The average number of daily cases in England is around 41,000, and hospitalisations and deaths are rising too although at a much lower level than during previous waves, said Nadhim Zahawi, the minister for Covid-19 vaccine deployment. He made the remarks when updating members of the parliament on Thursday.

Regarding the NHS (national health service) Covid-19 pass, he said: “Anyone can access a pass via the NHS app on the NHS website or by calling 119 and asking for a letter to demonstrate vaccine status. People will also be able to demonstrate proof of a negative test result.”

Although the government do not encourage its use in essential settings, like supermarkets, other businesses and organization in England can adopt the pass as a means of entry where it is suitable for their venue or premises and when they can see its potential to keep their clients or their customers safe, according to Zahawi.

But for proprietors of venues and events where large numbers are likely to gather and likely to mix with people from outside their households for prolonged periods deploying the pass is the right thing to do, he said.

About 88 per cent of adults in Britain have received the first jab of Covid-19 vaccine and more than 69 per cent have received two doses, according to the latest figures.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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