In the United Kingdom, there is a growing fear that food shortages are caused by the so-called ‘pingdemic’. “We are very concerned about the situation,” acknowledged Economic Affairs Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, who was asked about photos of empty shelves in supermarkets. “We are monitoring the situation.”
In the United Kingdom, hundreds of thousands of people have received a call to go into home quarantine via an official app in a week. They are seen as contacting someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus and has therefore been ‘pinged’, meaning they have received a notification on their phone.
The business community has already complained about staff shortages due to Brexit and now says that the situation worsens due to the pingdemic. According to Sky News, there are warnings that supply chains are “starting to fail” as truck drivers and people in the meat sector, among others, become stuck at home.
The pingdemic dominates the front pages in British media on Thursday. “Pingdemic disrupts food supply in supermarkets,” headlines The Daily Telegraph. The Sun and the Daily Mail open with photos of empty shelves. “Fear of shortages as shops are hit by ‘pingdemic’,” writes The Times.
Some companies are now taking matters into their own hands. For example, the Bidfood company has called on ‘pinged’ employees to work if a PCR test shows that they are not infected. CEO Andrew Selley told the BBC that his employees play a vital role in the food chain.
Government services cannot escape the consequences of the pingdemic either. According to Sky News, the police have already indicated that many employees are out of action in some control rooms. As a result, it is not always possible to respond quickly to telephone calls. In addition, Cleveland police say employees’ leave is being revoked.
British people are not legally obliged to go into home quarantine for ten days if they receive a notification via the app. They don’t even have to put it on their phone. It is only a piece of urgent advice.
Yet many people heed the call, and as a result, the government is under pressure to take measures. The government has already decided that fully vaccinated people will no longer have to self-isolate from 16 August if they come into the picture during contact research unless they test positive themselves.