“Freedom Day” in England overshadowed by Johnson’s isolation



Three of Britain’s top cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will be isolated on Monday in England’s so-called “Freedom Day”, highlighting the rise in Covid-19 cases just as the country launches its latest pandemic restrictions.

Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were forced to make a humiliating turn Sunday after facing a backlash against plans to avoid quarantine by participating in a pilot test plan.

The NHS Test and Trace program contacted the couple after holding meetings on Friday at No. 10 with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, announced that he is isolating himself after testing positive for coronavirus.

Three hours after announcing their plans on Sunday morning, Sunak and Johnson had completely reversed direction after a wave of public outrage and condemnation by opposition politicians and business leaders.

The move came as food retailers and producers warned of food shortages and rising prices as staff shortages due to the isolation of workers begin to put pressure on the chain. supply.

Iceland, the supermarket group, said it had been forced to close stores due to a “sharp” increase in staff absences. Restaurant operators said they were limiting menus due to scarcity. Marks and Spencer said they should also limit opening hours if staff shortages increase.

Some 530,126 people were forced into solitary confinement last week after being contacted by authorities, resulting in a large number labor shortage to factories, pubs, restaurants and public transport.

Johnson later claimed a video posted on social media who had only looked “briefly” at the idea of ​​participating in the pilot scheme, which has been running for several weeks.

Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, said the change of direction was the latest example of “chaos” at the heart of the government’s approach to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been rejected once again for thinking that the rules we are following do not apply,” he said.

“Parents, workers and businesses will be wondering what the hell is going on in Downing Street.”

People who participate in the “workplace contact testing pilot” may not socialize, but may leave home to perform essential activities, including work, if daily testing is negative and if they show no symptoms.

The scheme applies to workers in 20 public sector organizations, including Downing Street, Transport for London and Border Force staff. The scheme is unlikely to be launched to the general public before September.

Johnson, who will complete his self-isolation at Checkers, also called for “caution” and “caution” ahead of Monday’s reopening, though he insisted it was the right thing to do. as case numbers increased to about 50,000 a day. “If we don’t do it now, we have to ask, when will we ever do it?” He said.

Sunak is scheduled to announce the fall spending review parameters this week. The chancellor and the prime minister are also trying to agree on a new social assistance package, funded by higher taxes, before the start of parliament’s summer recess.

The changes will see the reopening of venues such as nightclubs and theaters and the end of limits on the number of people gathering inside, as well as the end of social distancing and the use of legally enforced masks.

Neil Ferguson, director of the MRC Center for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London, said it was “almost certain” that the daily hospitalization rate would reach 1,000 with 100,000 cases a day in the coming weeks. “The real question is whether we can double it or even more. . . 2,000 hospitalizations and 200,000 cases? “he told the BBC Andrew Marr Show.

The government is scheduled to exempt isolates from self-isolation, even if they are contacted by Test and Trace, as of Aug. 16, but business groups have pressed to advance that date.

“Far from the day of freedom being the day of freedom, it will be the day of disaster,” said Rod Mackenzie, director general of policies and public affairs for The Road Haulage Association.

He said the supply chain could face “chaos” with the transportation industry they no longer reach 100,000 drivers due to other factors, including Brexit. “The government must wake up to this. I can’t underestimate the gravity of this situation, ”he said.

Clive Black, a Shore Capital retail analyst, said he expected food price inflation to rise from 0-1% to 2-3% this year.

The Covid-19 cases in England are now the third highest number in the world behind Indonesia and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the government will confirm on Monday that the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee has advised Covid-19 beatings only for a limited number of children under 18, where they have underlying health conditions or live with vulnerable adults.

Additional reports by Nathalie Thomas


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