Britain faces food and fuel shortage over Covid ‘pingdemic'
Fears are growing in Britain over food and fuel shortages after a health app of the National Health Service (NHS) told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate following contact with someone with COVID-19.
With cases rising to nearly 50,000 day in the United Kingdom, almost 620,000 people in England and Wales were advised - or "pinged" - by the NHS’s coronavirus contact-tracing app to isolate for 10 days.
British newspapers carried front-page pictures of empty shelves in supermarkets, declaring a "pingdemic".
The drastic reduction in staffing that has resulted has sown chaos through sectors as diverse as food supplies, haulage, supermarkets, hospitality, manufacturing and media. To avoid disruption, many people have deleted the app from their phones.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News the government was "very concerned" about the crisis.
Sainsbury's, Britain's second largest grocer, said customers may not be able to find the exact product they want.
Retailer Iceland said it had closed a number of stores due to staff shortages. BP said it had to temporarily close a handful of petrol stations due to a lack of fuel, with a shortage of HGV drivers exacerbated by COVID-19 isolations.
The coronavirus has killed about 129,000 people in Britain - the seventh highest toll in the world.
Infections have been rising sharply in Britain for several weeks. But a widespread vaccination program in recent months has resulted in daily fatalities remaining relatively low.