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UK evaluates cost of another ‘pingdemic’

With lockdowns looming due to the spread of Omicron, the new mutant strain of Covid-19, another “pingdemic” could cost the UK economy £2 billion a month, the country’s industry leaders warned Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
The so-called “pingdemic,” derived from the words “pandemic” and “ping,” refers to being notified, or pinged, by an app which tracks and registers close contact with the infected, and recommends self-isolation for a certain amount of time.

The first one – imposed during the previous coronavirus wave – had an enormous negative impact on a wide range of economic sectors, heavily hitting the supply chains and creating severe labor shortages across the country. The measures were dropped in August for fully vaccinated citizens.

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    <span><strong>Read more</strong></span>
    <figure>
        <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2021.10/thumbnail/6162f39685f540079b6ea0d9.jpg" alt="Tewkesbury, England. © Getty Images / Matt Cardy" />
        <figcaption><a href="/business/537106-uk-panic-buying-food-crisis/">Shelves stripped bare across UK as Brits rush to panic-buy ahead of Christmas</a></figcaption>
    </figure>
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Over the weekend, British authorities introduced the targeted measures to tackle the new coronavirus variant. They take effect at 4:00 am on November 30, and include compulsory mask-wearing in shops and on public transport, PCR tests and self-isolation until getting a negative result if arriving from abroad, as well as 10 days of self-isolation for those who were in contact with suspected Omicron cases.

The renewed rules oblige the fully-vaccinated to stay home if they are identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive for Omicron.

According to the Institute of Economic Affairs, the measures are expected to lead to another ruinous pingdemic-prompted shortage of goods and labor in the run-up to Christmas, as businesses become crippled by the growing number of staff being forced to self-isolate.

“The impact of a repeat could now be greater, because the rules are being tightened in school term time and when labor shortages are a bigger problem. The new self-isolation rules could knock as much as 1% off GDP in December, costing the economy at least £2 billion,” Julian Jessop of the IEA told the Daily Mail.

According to Stephen Phipson, the head of the manufacturers’ group Make UK, the risk that the self-isolation rules will worsen the already tough staffing issues is huge.

“We don’t want to go back to the pingdemic,” he told the Financial Times.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

     https://ift.tt/3D67rfK 30, 2021 at 08:06PM

from RT – Daily news

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