Commuters heading to the office today in Britain were again faced with travel disruptions due to hundreds of cancelled trains. This was because Covid self-isolation regulations caused havoc on vital services.

People travelling from London to Birmingham were faced with the misery caused by staff shortages.

One in ten NHS staff are now off sick or self-isolating with the milder but more contagious Omicron variant – and bin collections have been disrupted in Manchester, Birmingham, London, Cheshire, Essex and Cumbria.

Yorkshire care home boss said staff shortages are worse than ever during the pandemic.

And shoppers have described long queues due to a lack of checkout staff and some empty shelves, especially for fresh items such as milk – with Iceland saying its number of staff self -isolating is now 1,000 up on a week ago. Some stores might have to close because of the ongoing shortage in HGV drivers.  

On the trains, there was disruption for those using TfL Rail services between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington in West London due to a points failure between Hanwell and Southall which was blocking some lines.

TfL Rail East London and Greater Anglia passengers from Essex were also affected by delays between Romford, London Liverpool Street. This was due to a problem on a train at Stratford.

A broken train caused disruption in the West Midlands Railway’s CrossCountry and West Midlands Railway service between Birmingham New Street, Redditch and Birmingham New Street this morning.

Most operators around Britain have already been forced to slash dozens of daily services due to around one in ten rail staff calling in sick – and some train firms will now run reduced services for several weeks.

TransPennine Express delayed 24 trains and CrossCountry cut 50 services daily until next week. LNER removed 12 trains a day from the East Coast Main Line, London to Leeds, until Friday.

Southern will not be running services into and out London Victoria from next Monday, while Gatwick Express has been temporarily suspended. 

ScotRail plans to reduce 160 trains by reducing its usual 2,000 train per day from January 28 through February 28, which will result in fewer services into and out of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Transport for Wales also cancelled nearly 100 trains between Newport, Crosskeys, Chester and Liverpool Lime Street.

This comes at a time when self-isolation regulations have wreaked havoc upon essential services. The number of people succumbing has reached an all-time high. Heart attack victims were told to “get a lift” to get to the hospital, rather than waiting for an ambulance. 

Commuters sit on a Metropolitan line service travelling on the London Underground during rush hour at about 7.15am today

Commuters travel on the London Underground Metropolitan line during rush hour. This is around 7.15 AM today.

A rail passenger gets off a Northern line train on the London Underground during rush hour today at about 7.30am

At 7.30 am, a rail passenger boards a Northern line train for London Underground.

Commuters walk through Euston station on the London Underground during rush hour at about 7.30am this morning

Commuters walk by Euston station, London Underground’s main station during rush hour. This morning at 7.30am.

Northern line trains stand at Finchley Central station in North London during rush hour at about 8.15am this morning

During rush hour, at around 8.15 am this morning, Northern Line trains are at Finchley Central Station in North London

Rail passengers wait for a London Underground service on a platform at King's Cross St Pancras at about 7.30am today

At 7.30am, rail passengers waited on King’s Cross St Pancras platform to board a London Underground train.

A lone passenger sat on a Northern line train during rush hour on the London Underground at about 8.15am this morning

One passenger was sitting on a Northern Line train at rush hour in London Underground this morning, around 8.15am.

A very quiet A1(M) motorway before dawn this morning as many people continue to work from home after Christmas

A1(M), a very peaceful motorway, before sunrise this morning. Many people are still working from home after Christmas.

A total of 218,724 Covid cases were recorded – meaning there could be at least 1.27million Britons forced to quarantine – and several major hospitals declared ‘critical incidents’.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, rejected requests to reduce self-isolation from seven days to five.

Craig Beaumont of Federation of Small Businesses stated: “Five-day isolation will help address some of our staff absenteeisms, which we’re seeing really rise.”

However, Mr Javid stated that he was quite certain of where he is with 7 days… You need to do those 2 negative lateral flow test in the last two days.

The areas most affected by self-isolation rules, other than the railways are:


One-tenth of NHS employees are either off sick or isolated. Bosses say it is almost impossible to provide basic care for patients because of the lack of staff.

Yesterday, an ambulance trust asked heart attack and stroke patients to be able to take a ride to the hospital. It didn’t have enough paramedics.

According to The North East Ambulance Service Foundation Trust Trust, it is important for call handlers to ask the patient’s family or friends to transport them.

The staff received a message saying that due to unprecedented demand, they would also have to take patients to hospitals in taxis.

Eight hospital trusts, at most, have reported ‘critical events’. That means patients are suffering from routine care and that staff members need to be redeployed.

Covid left nearly 500 employees at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital. Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, Lancashire was declared in critical condition by staff who tested positive for coronavirus. 

Public health director in the area, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi said that there is a “tsunami of Omicron cases” in Lancashire. 

Matthew Taylor is the Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation. He stated that it had become ‘almost impossible to’ deal with the’most urgent and pressing requirements’ because of the present staffing situation.

Times Radio spoke to him that the’most pressing’ element is not the Covid patient needing treatment but the absence of staff.

Ambulances wait in line outside the Royal London Hospital in London yesterday as the NHS continues to suffer staff shortages

As the NHS suffers from staff shortages, emergency services waited outside Royal London Hospital in London.

The entrance to the A&E Department at the Royal London Hospital yesterday as the NHS continues to struggle with staffing

The entrance to the A&E Department at the Royal London Hospital yesterday as the NHS continues to struggle with staffing


Manchester, London, Cheshire, Cheshire, parts of Essex, Cumbria and Manchester announced that their bin collections were to be missed and rearranged. Birmingham saw rubbish left on the streets.

Pavel Bartos of Aston (23 years old) said that people had been waiting to see their trash bins empty since the Christmas holidays. He said, “It has been a nightmare. The place is left looking completely tippy.”

It is a complete eyesore. We thought they would have been collected by now but it hasn’t. This is like living in an slum.

“We were warned that Christmas collections wouldn’t be made due to staff shortages, however it’s now been four days and it still looks terrible.”

North Somerset Council could not pick up 1,000 bins of recycling on New Years Eve due to staff sickness. Local Government Association spokesmen urged council staff to prioritize Covid testing. 

Overflowing bins awaiting collection by refuse workers on Cherry Street in the Walton area of Liverpool yesterday

Yesterday, refuse workers in Liverpool’s Walton neighbourhood waited to collect overflowing garbage bins

A huge pile of festive period rubbish and recycling that has formed outside a Sainsbury's in Maypole, Birmingham, yesterday

An enormous pile of recycling and rubbish from the festive season has gathered outside Sainsbury’s Maypole, Birmingham.

Rubbish from Christmas and New Year starts to build up at a recycling point in Bristol yesterday

A recycling station in Bristol began to collect rubbish yesterday from Christmas and the New Year.


Mike Padgham is chairman of Independent Care Group which represents Yorkshire care homes. He said that the current staffing problem is ‘the worst since the pandemic.

He claimed that many care homes and home-care providers are experiencing financial difficulties and called for the Government’s assistance in appealing to retired nurses, doctors, carers, and other professionals to assist struggling social service services.

He wrote to ministers: “As you all know, we require a functioning social care sector in order for NHS hospital care to function effectively. People cannot be discharged from care settings because they are too overwhelmed.

“At this time, that is not possible and I worry the establishment of surge hubs will result in them struggling to find staff.”


Leaders of schools expressed their concern about the possibility that staff shortages would worsen, causing further disruption to children’s education.

Union leaders warned that there could be a “stressful period” ahead. Existing teacher absences starting on term one may become more challenging in weeks to come. Some schools report that one fifth of staff could be absent at term’s start.

Students are now returning to class after Christmas, and secondary students from England have been advised to use face masks during lessons. This is due to an increased number of coronavirus cases. College and secondary students can also be encouraged to perform a site test prior to returning to classes.

As academy heads increase ventilation, some students may end up in coats during lessons.