‘Another pingdemic could cost us £2bn’: Industry leaders fear new Covid isolation rules could spark staffing crisis in the run-up to Christmas

  • Industry leaders warned Kwasi Kwarteng ‘pingdemic’ could cost Britain £2bn a month
  • Contacts with the new Covid strain are likely to isolate at home within ten days. 
  • It could lead to chaos for staff across Britain during the Christmas season, according to Bosses 

New self-isolation rules to tackle the Omicron variant could trigger a second pingdemic and cost Britain £2billion a month, ministers were warned yesterday.

Anyone who has ingested the Covid strain must contact their close friends immediately. They will need to isolate at home for 10 days starting today.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary of the Republic warned industry leaders that these rules might lead to an epidemic in the weeks leading up to Christmas. 

First one caused havoc for schools, individuals, and businesses in summer. Millions were forced to stay at home. 

Pingdemic is a notification from NHS Covid telling people to self-isolate.

From today, close contacts of anyone catching the new Covid strain will be required to isolate at home for ten days (stock image)

Close contacts will need to be isolated at home within ten days of catching this new strain (stock photo).

In August, those with full vaccinations were allowed to stop following the rules. 

Boris Johnson declared at the weekend that the Omicron variant would slow down by bringing back self-isolation. 

If they’re identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for Omicron, even fully-vaccinated people will be required to self-isolate.

The Institute for Economic Affairs think-tank warned that the rule change could cost the economy £2billion if firms are crippled by large numbers of staff being forced to isolate in the run-up to Christmas.

It is also possible that a return of self-isolation may cause chaos again, as was the case last year in schools when entire classes were advised to stay home.

 It was also claimed the new rules were unlikely to prevent a spread of infections.

Industry leaders warned Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng that the rules could lead to a damaging pingdemic in the run-up to Christmas (file image)

Kwasi Kwarteng was warned by industry leaders that his rules could create a dangerous pingdemic during the Christmas season (file photo).

The current sequencing of only 20% of Covid-positive samples is complete, so it’s possible that there are many new cases.

 It can also take several days to fully sequence cases – meaning people may be contacted too late.

Julian Jessop from the IEA said that the IEA’s main threat to the economy in the short term is tightening the self-isolation rules. That could cause another pingdemic.

The rules being enforced during school terms and times when there is a greater risk of repeats could make the impact even more significant. The new self-isolation rules could knock as much as 1 per cent off GDP in December, costing the economy at least £2billion.’

Stephen Phipson from Make UK stated that self-isolation rules might make it more difficult for manufacturers. [staffing]situation” and adding, “We don’t want to return to the pingdemic.”

Downing Street insists that the new rules are proportionate but acknowledges they will be difficult for certain firms and individuals.

Currently just 20 per cent of positive Covid samples are being fully sequenced, meaning large numbers of cases of the new variant are likely to go undetected (file image)

Just 20% of Covid-positive samples are currently being sequenced. This means large amounts of new variants are most likely to be missed (file photo).