Published: 03/01/2022- 15:19
Updated: 14/02/2023- 11:36
Trending on GB News
Bin collections have been cancelled across the UK as an increase in Covid infections has caused staff shortages.
Local authorities in Essex, Manchester, Somerset and Buckinghamshire have announced that they will run reduced services or a suspend waste collections entirely as a result of diminishing numbers in staff due to the impact of the Covid self-isolation period.
UK councils such as Cheshire East, Chelmsford, Basingstoke and Tameside have also announced cancelled, delayed or disrupted collections.
Health minister Ed Argar has said the Government is “doing the responsible and sensible thing” by asking the public sector to prepare for a worst-case scenario of up to a quarter of staff off work.
It comes as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned that cutting the Covid-19 isolation period to five days would be “counterproductive”, and could actually exacerbate staffing shortages.
As it stands, people who receive negative lateral flow results on day six and day seven of their self-isolation period, with tests taken 24 hours apart, no longer have to stay indoors for a full 10 days.
There have been calls to further slash this period to five days.
But the UKHSA said in a blog published on Saturday that shortening the time spent in isolation beyond the current seven-day minimum would be “counterproductive”.
“In some settings, such as hospitals, it could actually worsen staff shortages if it led to more people being infected,” it said.
This comes as public sector leaders have been asked to prepare for a worst-case scenario of up to a quarter of staff off work as coronavirus continues to sweep across the country.
The Cabinet Office said on Saturday that, so far, disruption caused by Omicron had been controlled in “most parts of the public sector”.
But it said leaders had been asked to test plans against 10%, 20% and 25% workforce absence rates.