'Pingdemic' Grips Britain as Fears of Food Shortages Grow

Britain's supermarkets, wholesalers and hauliers were struggling to ensure stable food and fuel supplies after an official health app told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate after contact with someone with COVID-19, Reuters reported. Coronavirus cases in Britain have been broadly rising for a month, with more than 44,000 recorded on Wednesday. "We're very concerned about the situation," Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said. "We're monitoring the situation." Britain's second-largest supermarket group, Sainsbury's, said customers would generally be able to find the products they want, though perhaps not every brand. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's bet that he could reopen England's economy because so many people have been vaccinated has been tarnished by the "pingdemic" in which people have been told by the contact-tracing app to isolate for 10 days. The drastic reduction in staffing that has resulted has sown chaos through sectors as diverse as food supplies, haulage, supermarkets, hospitality, manufacturing and media. To avoid disruption, many have simply deleted the app from their phones. British ministers say the app plays an important role in countering the spread of the virus and has allowed some workers in critical roles to carry on working. Read more.