‘Limited workers’ from 16 critical sectors exempted from isolation: Complete list
NHS Covid-19 app alerts (Photo illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
UK government on Thursday (22) released a list of 16 sectors where fully vaccinated workers may be exempted from isolation, even if they get “pinged” by NHS Covid app. The announcement came after business leaders warned that the economy might “grind to a halt” due to the so-called ‘pingdemic’.
As per the guidelines, the exemptions will only be open to a “limited number of named workers” in critical services.
The sectors granted this exemption 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 guidance for exempt services published late on Thursday by the government said not all workers will be approved, even if they fell into a relevant sector.
“This is not a blanket exemption for all workers in a sector,” the guidance said.
Staff from the mentioned sectors have also been warned they will be exempted from isolation only if their employer has received a letter from the government on which their name is listed and only if they test negative daily and are fully vaccinated.
The move came after the images and reports of supermarkets and retail stores in the UK running out of food and essential stuff- due to shortage in staff and delay in supplies owing to widespread ‘pingdemic’- hit the country.
Following a meeting with supermarket bosses on Thursday, ministers said sites for daily testing will be set up at supermarket distribution centres to allow staff to keep coming to work if they test negative.
Supermarkets, haulage firms and manufacturers have reported difficulties keeping operations going, as the numbers of workers told to stay home after they were pinged topped 600,000 in a week.
UK health secretary Sajid Javid, who is self-isolating too after testing positive for the virus last weekend, said that the daily testing will help minimize the disruption caused by rising cases in the coming weeks.
“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 minimize the disruption caused by rising cases in the coming weeks, while ensuring workers are not put at risk,” Javid said.