‘Get rid of app’ says Tobias Ellwood as fears rise army will be needed to ‘stack shelves’
NHS Covid app is 'holding workforce back' says Tobias Ellwood
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Speaking to GB News’ Michelle Dewberry on Friday, the MP for Bournemouth East warned the army may have to be drafted in to stack shelves and help keep Britain’s supermarkets from running out of food if key workers continue to self-isolate. His comments come as the “Pingdemic” is causing havoc across the UK as hundreds of thousands of Britons in vital infrastructure jobs such as retail and transport are being told to self-isolate by the NHS coronavirus app. Mr Ellwood called on the government to hold an emergency COBRA to take immediate action to tackle the growing crisis.
Ms Dewberry asked Mr Ellwood if the army should be called in to avert the chaos.
Mr Ellwood replied: “The reason why I call for a COBRA meeting is because getting rid of the app is one of many solutions that could get us out of here.
“By not doing anything you end up probably resorting to leaning on the armed forces to make sure our stocks in supermarkets are delivered and that is why it is so important that the government gets together through COBRA, all the decision makers.
“And makes a plan to deal with this new crisis on top of the wider enduring one.
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“That is what the government should be doing, we have an opportunity here.
“We are in an envious position across the world of having to deal with this Delta variant but also having so many of our population vaccinated.”
He went on to say how, as a vaccinator himself, so many fellow jab volunteers have been forced to isolate at his local vaccination centre that they “didn’t have enough staff” to vaccinate the hundreds of people queued up outside to get the jab.
Mr Ellwood said: “If we want to get out of this pandemic, lets vaccinate our entire population, let’s have a blitz in vaccinations.”
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He slammed: “That is the way forward.
“Not hold our workforce back because they have been pinged by this app!”
The MP’s comments come as an estimated 618,903 Brits were ‘pinged’ by the NHS app and told to self-isolate in the week July 8 – 15.
Concerns are rising from business leaders that the alerts are causing serious staff shortages and affecting services, especially in the retail sector.
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Major concerns over the UK’s food supply chains are also rising as the sheer number of people off work is impacting delivery of goods to supermarkets.
But there are plans for some fully-vaccinated key workers will be exempt from self-isolating if they are pinged by the app as a close contact of a positive case.
Self-isolation for all fully-vaccinated people pinged as close contacts is due to be scrapped by 16 August but there are calls for this deadline to be brought forward.
It comes as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wrote to Boris Johnson this week demanding action on the growing crisis, his letter read: “We are therefore calling on you to ensure that the necessary testing is in place to enable people who have been double vaccinated for longer than two weeks and pinged by the NHS Covid app, to immediately return to work, following a negative PCR test, rather than having to self-isolate.”
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