The three most senior British cabinet ministers-including Prime Minister Boris Johnson-will self-quarantine on what is called “Freedom Day” in the UK on Monday, highlighting that just as the country lifted its last pandemic restrictions, The number of Covid-19 cases has surged.

Johnson and the British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were forced to turn around on Sunday after their plan to avoid quarantine for participating in a pilot test program was strongly opposed.

After a meeting with Health Minister Sajid Javid in Building 10 on Friday, the NHS Test and Trace project contacted the couple. Announced that he is in quarantine After testing positive for coronavirus.

Within three hours of announcing the plan on Sunday morning, Sunak and Johnson completely reversed course amidst waves of public outrage and condemnation from opposition politicians and business leaders.

This move comes at a time when food retailers and manufacturers warn of food shortages and price increases, as the severe shortage of workers due to worker isolation has begun to put pressure on the supply chain.

The supermarket group Iceland said it was forced to close stores due to a “dramatic” increase in employee absenteeism. Restaurant operators said they are restricting menus due to shortages. Marks and Spencer stated that it will also have to limit business hours if the staff shortage intensifies.

Approximately 530,126 people were forced to quarantine after contacting the authorities last week, causing huge losses. Labor shortage In factories, bars, restaurants and public transportation.

Johnson later claimed A video posted on social media He only considered “briefly” the idea of ​​participating in the pilot program, which has been running for several weeks.

The Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, said the U-turn is the latest example of the “chaos” at the heart of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Boris Johnson and Rich Sunak were arrested again for thinking that the rules we all followed did not apply to them,” he said.

“Parents, workers and companies will want to know what happened in Downing Street.”

Participants in the “workplace exposure test pilot” cannot socialize, but if their daily tests are negative and they show no symptoms, they can leave home and engage in necessary activities—including work.

The plan applies to workers from 20 public sector organizations, including staff from Downing Street, Transport for London, and border guards. The plan cannot be launched to the public before September at the earliest.

Johnson will complete self-isolation in Chequers, and he also called for “cautious” and “cautious” before reopening on Monday, although he insists that this is the right approach As the number of cases soared to about 50,000 per day“If we don’t do it now, we must ask, when will we do it?” he said.

Sunak plans to announce the parameters of the fall spending review this week. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister are also trying to agree on a new social care plan, funded by higher taxes, before the summer recess of Parliament.

These changes will include the reopening of places such as nightclubs and theaters, ending restrictions on the number of indoor parties, and ending legally enforced social distancing and wearing masks.

Neil Ferguson, director of the MRC Global Infectious Disease Analysis Center at Imperial College London, said that it is “almost certain” that the daily hospitalization rate will reach 1,000 people and 100,000 cases a day in the next few weeks. “The real question is whether we can double it or even higher… 2000 hospitalizations, 200,000 cases?” He told the BBC Andrew Mar Show.

From August 16th, even if Test and Trace contacts them, the government will exempt self-isolation of double-strikes-but business groups have Lobby Advance the date.

“Freedom Day is far from Freedom Day, but disaster day,” said Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs for the Highway Transport Association.

He said the supply chain may face “chaos” in the transportation industry 100,000 drivers are already missing Due to other factors including Brexit. “The government needs to be aware of this. I cannot underestimate the severity of this situation,” he said.

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

Covid-19 cases in England are now the third highest in the world, after Indonesia and Brazil.

At the same time, the government will confirm on Monday that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization has recommended that Covid-19 jabs only apply to a limited number of people under the age of 18 who have underlying health conditions or live with vulnerable adults. together.

Additional report by Nathalie Thomas


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