Half of Britons cut back on socialising to avoid pingdemic

Nearly half of Britons are reducing social contact in a sign that the “pingdemic” is having a significant effect on behaviour. Read more: Half of Britons cut back on socialising to avoid pingdemic

Half of Britons cut back on socialising to avoid pingdemic

Nearly half of Britons are reducing social contact in a sign that the “pingdemic” is having a significant effect on behaviour.

Some 46 per cent of those surveyed by YouGov for The Times said that they had reduced contact with others to avoid being “pinged” by the NHS Covid app and having to self-isolate, compared with 39 per cent who said they had not.

The findings suggest that government policy, while enormously disruptive, is having the desired effect. Until August 16, even those who are double-vaccinated are told to stay at home after contact with a positive case.

The vast majority of those surveyed, on July 29 and 30, suggested they were sticking to rules and advice, with 10 per cent saying they had deleted the app from their phones and 13 per cent saying they had switched off its contact tracing function. Seven per cent said they had avoided getting a coronavirus test to avoid being told to isolate.

From August 16, anyone who is double-jabbed will no longer have to isolate after meeting someone who has tested positive, although they will be advised to take daily rapid tests to ensure they do not have the virus.

Ministers have come under pressure to bring that date forward amid warnings that self-isolation was causing a shortage of critical workers. The latest figures show nearly 700,000 people were pinged by the app in a week.

A government spokeswoman said: “The self-isolation rules are doing exactly what they are designed to do — minimising the contacts of people who have been exposed to Covid-19, so we can protect the population while we continue to roll out the vaccine.

“By sticking to the rules, the public are playing a vital role in reducing the spread of the virus and preventing cases from becoming outbreaks. This enables the NHS to vaccinate as many people as possible ahead of August 16th, and we continue to encourage everyone to come forward to get their jab.”

Despite the proportion of people who said they had reduced contact with others, only 16 per cent said they had cancelled plans.

Asked about the present coronavirus situation in the UK, 63 per cent said they thought things were improving but that the pandemic was not yet over. Eighteen per cent thought the pandemic was “just as bad as it has been for a while” and 8 per cent said it was “largely over.”

A separate report said that more than 1.1 million jobs were unfilled amid a shortage of workers caused by the “pingdemic”. Vacancies have topped one million for almost three months, according to research by Adzuna, a recruitment website.

There are almost 31,000 retail vacancies, up by 14 per cent in a month, 10,000 in supermarkets, 77,000 in hospitality and catering, 90,000 in trade and construction, and 84,000 in logistics and warehousing, it said.

Andrew Hunter of Adzuna said: “The pingdemic has hit just as businesses start to get to grips with filling open roles. The struggle to hire is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses, with hundreds of thousands of workers still on furlough, hesitation among others to go back to work, fewer overseas workers available to fill positions, and a lack of skilled staff in some sectors.”

The government announced yesterday that more than 85 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the UK. More than 88 per cent of adults have received one dose and over 72 per cent have had two.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, described it as “a phenomenal achievement” and thanked the NHS, armed forces officials and volunteers for their “tireless efforts” in getting the country to this point.

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Half of Britons cut back on socialising to avoid pingdemic

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Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Booster jabs are to be offered to 32 million people as early as next month to protect the most vulnerable before winter, it was reported last night. Read more: Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Booster jabs are to be offered to 32 million people as early as next month to protect the most vulnerable before winter, it was reported last night.

Up to 2,000 pharmacies will run the programme so that the NHS can focus on the 5.3 million patients caught in a backlog of treatments.

Ministers aim to deliver an average of almost 2.5 million third doses a week, starting from September, The Daily Telegraph reported. The highest number of doses in one day so far was 873,784 on March 20 this year.

Adults aged 50 and over, as well as those who are immunosuppressed, will be offered the extra doses from as early as Monday September 6, which could allow for the programme to be completed by early December.

Proposals have been drawn up for it to be given with the flu shot. The idea of an injection in each arm was floated.

A government source said that the proposal “depends on final JCVI [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] advice and coronavirus vaccine booster trials”.

Seven vaccines are being tested, with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA technology as well as Novavax, which uses a subunit protein, showing positive results in preliminary data, it is understood.

An NHS spokesman said: “Community pharmacies have been an important part of the Covid vaccination programme, the biggest and most successful in the health service’s history, and they will continue to play a vital role.”

The proposal comes as more patients are paying for life-saving private surgery, including £20,000 heart operations, because NHS waiting lists are so long.

Private medical providers say that the demand for “self-funded” surgery has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic as a record number of people, including 4,000 patients who have been waiting for two years, join the backlog for treatment.

Britain’s largest private hospital group, HCA Healthcare, said that there had been an increase in “higher acuity care” during the pandemic, including a 20 per cent increase in “self-funded cardiothoracic inpatient procedures”, The Daily Mail reported. This includes operations such as a heart bypass, which can cost £17,500.

Health officials fear that the backlog could grow to 13 million as more patients come forward.

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Rollout of booster shots for 32m starts next month

Source : Business Matters More   

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