Fri. Jan 21st, 2022


Business leaders are calling on the government to shorten the self-isolation period for people in England who contract Covid-19 from seven days to five in an effort to curb labor shortages in the industry.

The Federation of Small Businesses said Sir Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, and Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser, should review the matter for a five-day self-isolation period as recently recommended by US authorities.

The British government last month cut the self-isolation period after a positive Covid test for double- and triple-vaccinated people in England from 10 to seven days, in an attempt to alleviate staff pressure for businesses and public services as the Omicron coronavirus variant has spread. the population.

The NHS hit due to significant labor shortages because staff contracted Omicron, as well as companies in industries including hospitality, retail and transportation.

Craig Beaumont, head of external affairs at the FSB, said Britain should follow the example of a five-day period of self-isolation recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month.

“This is what’s happening in the US – it’s the same science, it’s the same variant, we are not experts on public policy, but we want to ask the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser to make a proper assessment of it and to see if it is possible, ”he added.

Beaumont also said ministers should correct shortages of lateral flow tests after companies and workers struggled over the past two weeks to get their hands on them.

People who are fully vaccinated can only terminate self-isolation after a week if they have had two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

Richard Walker, managing director of frozen food retailer Iceland, said absences at the company increased from 700 before Christmas to 1,700 now, about 6 percent of the workforce.

“The government needs to change the isolation policy,” he added, urging ministers to reduce the period from seven days to five.

Matthew Fell, chief policy officer at the CBI, said members wanted the self-isolation period to be shortened from seven days to five.

“We want it to be kept under review, but we have always been clear that it should be led by the medical experts – it will be self-destructive if we end up putting more infections in the public eye,” he added.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, a commercial body, also supported the case for a review of the self-isolation period, saying that hospitality businesses suffered “massively repressed sales” during the festive season, which put pressure on companies and jobs.

Tim Martin, executive chairman of the bar chain JD Wetherspoon, said there was pressure on staff numbers, but that no pubs and very few kitchens were forced to close as a result.

About one in 10 railroad workers is currently off work because of Covid, according to the latest figures from the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that the government would continue to look at the length of the self-isolation period in England. “But the most important thing is that we do not want to release people into the workplace when they are still contagious,” he added.

The British Health Safety Agency set out its reasoning for a seven-day isolation period in a recent blog post, saying: whatever comes first.

“But in the U.S., the advice is to isolate yourself for five days as soon as you get a positive test, which can be a few days after the first symptoms.”



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