THE full list of workers exempt from ‘pingdemic’ self-isolation rules has been revealed after fears the country could grind to a halt.
Anyone working in critical sectors – including food and water supply, medicines and public transport – no longer has to spend days under house arrest if they come into contact with a Covid case.
Many workers will now be exempt from ‘pingdemic’ self-isolationCredit: Alamy
It will be welcome news to despairing bosses who have faced major staff shortages, with more than 618,903 Brits ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app in just one week.
The Government has not published a list of essential workers – like it did in the first lockdown – but has identified vital industries.
The sectors included are energy, civil nuclear, digital infrastructure, food production and supply, waste, water, veterinary medicines, essential chemicals, essential transport, medicines, medical devices, clinical consumable supplies, emergency services, border control, essential defence outputs and local government.
The government’s guidance states that employers who feel their workers need to be exempt from self-isolation should contact the relevant government department for their sector.
They are also asked to provide information on the number of people who they want to leave self-isolation, the jobs they do and the impact that self-isolation would have on their business.
If a worker is deemed to meet the criteria then their employer will get a letter from the government telling them what measures they now need to follow.
Unless businesses have received a letter like this with the employee specifically named, then the exemption policy does not apply, the government said.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng revealed earlier today: “We’re looking at different sectors, and we will be publishing today the sectors which will be affected.”
The top minister also said the scope of the list is “very narrow”.
In his Freedom Day speech, Boris Johnson name-checked a handful of industries in line for exemption, if the workers have been double-jabbed.
They included food and water supply, power supply, medicines, public transport, border force and the armed forces.
Fully vaccinated NHS workers have already been exempt to stop hospitals coming to a standstill.
Shoppers have spotted shortages in supermarkets this week, including bottled water and fresh fruit and veg.
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A number of problems through the food supply chain have combined to create what’s been described as a “perfect storm”.
Increasing numbers of workers are being “pinged” by the NHS Covid app creating staff shortages in stores and factories producing food.
There is also a shortage of lorry drivers and fruit and vegetable pickers which has threatened supplies, while the heatwave has increased demand for salads, BBQ food and ice.
Some supermarkets last night warned the PM he has just 48 hours to fix the pingdemic or customers could face bare shelves for weeks.
Iceland said it has closed “a number of stores” after 1,000 workers – four per cent of its workforce – forced to self-isolate after being pinged.
Mr Kwarteng admitted the Government was “concerned” by photos of bare shelves in supermarkets, but said it wasn’t a “universal” problem.
He told BBC Radio 4: “Shoppers shouldn’t be panicking… I’m not panicking.”
BP has temporarily closed some petrol stations due to fuel supply problems, with M&S warning 20 per cent of its staff could be self-isolating by next month.
Pub chain Wetherspoons also warned it had a couple of hundred staff off.
Isolation for double-jabbed Brits who are pinged or contacted by NHS Test and Trace will end on August 16.
Millions have been deleting the app to avoid isolation as the Delta variant rips.
But Downing St has pleaded with people to stick with it, saying it’s “crucial” to lowering the spread.