The Papers: 'Pingdemic' hits supermarkets and NHS pay 'insult'

1 week ago 9

By BBC News

image captionMany of the papers lead with what has been dubbed the "pingdemic", as the large number of workers being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid app continues to affect businesses. The Telegraph reports that food industry leaders are warning supermarket supply chains are starting to fail because of the issue, with shelves empty of basic supplies in some areas.
image caption"Pings are running out", is the Sun's take on the same story. It says supermarkets have warned the prime minister he has just 48 hours to fix the crisis or shoppers will face empty shelves.
image captionThe Daily Mail says branches of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Lidl were among the chains hit by empty shelves. The paper says businesses want key employees to be able to avoid self-isolation if they are fully vaccinated and test negative for the virus. "When will No 10 act?" it asks.
image captionBut the Times reports that ministers have confirmed supermarket workers are unlikely to be granted an exemption from isolation. Downing Street says only a "very small" number of people in critical sectors such as energy and telecommunications will be allowed to take daily tests instead, the paper adds.
image captionThe Daily Star warns of shortages of food, toilet roll and fuel, with the reports of empty supermarket shelves prompting panic-buying "The bog roll bandits are back," a sub-headline intones.
image caption"Shelf isolation" is the headline for the Metro, which, like many papers, shows near-empty supermarket shelves in its main front page picture. It uses that wordplay to also highlight that Sir Keir Starmer is also self-isolating after one of his children tested positive for Covid Like many of the front pages, the Metro also features a new picture of a grinning Prince George, who turns eight today.
image captionThe i highlights the extent of the disruption to industries ranging from transport to the NHS, with the headline "shutdown replaces lockdown". The paper says NHS staff absences from self-isolation have risen by nearly 60% in 10 days, while police forces are downgrading non-emergency calls.
image captionThe Daily Mirror leads on the offer of a 3% pay rise for NHS workers, describing it as an "insult" which amounts to a cut in wages in real terms. "Is that really all they are worth?" the paper asks.
image captionThe Guardian says nurses are likely to reject the offer and may take industrial action in protest, while other unions also plan to ballot memberships over possible strikes. The paper says the decision to exclude the NHS's 61,000 junior doctors from the pay award is "certain to cause deep unease", noting that the group undertook a series of of strikes in 2015-16 over a proposed new contract.
image captionThe Daily Express says the EU has triggered a fresh Brexit stand-off after rejecting the UK's proposals on special arrangements for Northern Ireland. The headline "Think again EU! You must 'change course' over deal" indicates the firm stance of the Brexit-backing newspaper.
image captionThe Financial Times, which led yesterday with the latest UK/EU showdown, says the decision by Brussels to "flatly reject" the UK proposals has "inflamed tensions". It also says the situation risks souring relations between Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden.
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