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The CBI and CIPD have called for urgent action to amend self-isolation policies as employers report surging numbers of staff being “pinged” and forced to stay home.
A host of businesses reported staff shortages over the weekend, including Marks & Spencer and pub chain Greene King, which has been forced to close 33 pubs because so many staff have been forced to self isolate. London Underground also had to cut services.
At present, self-isolation rules are not due to be relaxed until 16 August, despite today (19 July) previously being hailed as “freedom day” in England and many coronavirus restrictions dropped, such as the legal requirement to wear a mask.
The NHS contact tracing app pings someone if they have spent time (15 minutes or more) in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. The person is then advised to self-isolate for 10 days from the start of contact.
A recent poll found that around one in five users has now deleted the app. However, the government today confirmed it would not be overhauling the app to make it less sensitive.
CBI president, Karan Bilimoria, said: “With restrictions being lifted and cases rapidly increasing, we urgently need a surefooted approach from the government.
“Building and maintaining confidence is key to securing the economic recovery. Mask-wearing in enclosed spaces, especially transport, will help create confidence for both staff and customers, as will clarity around the future availability of free testing for employees.”
Ben Willmott, head of public policy for the CIPD, urged the government to "urgently review" the criteria under which NHS Test and Trace requires close c