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UK to launch daily COVID tests in food sector to tackle 'pingdemic'

Thu, 22nd Jul 2021 22:00

LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - Daily contact testing will be
rolled out to workplaces in Britain's food sector so staff who
have been 'pinged' by the COVID-19 app can keep working if they
test negative rather than isolating, the government said on
Thursday.

Supermarkets have said some products are in short supply and
petrol stations have been forced to close after the official
health app told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate
following contact with someone with the virus.

British newspapers carried front-page pictures of empty
shelves in supermarkets and declared a "pingdemic".

The government said priority testing sites had been
identified for urgent implementation this week, including the
largest supermarket distribution centres, and up to 500 sites
would start next week.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said throughout the pandemic,
workers in the food and drink sector had done everything they
could to keep the country's shelves stacked and fridges full.

"As we manage this virus and do everything we can to break
chains of transmission, daily contact testing of workers in this
vital sector will help to minimise the disruption caused by
rising cases in the coming weeks, while ensuring workers are not
put at risk," he said.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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