The Guardian – Sarah Butler and Lucy Campbell / Supermarkets struggle to stock shelves as ‘pingdemic’ havoc spreads
- Supermarkets are under “increasing pressure” to keep shelves fully stocked, retail industry leaders have warned as the growing havoc wreaked by the “pingdemic” continues to force thousands of workers to self-isolate.
- With shops in some areas suffering shortages, and firms in sectors from petrol stations to the postal service affected by absences, the government is being urged to include supermarket staff, lorry drivers and other frontline workers on a list of those exempted from self-isolation rules.
- The government has announced that certain industries will be able to apply for staff exemptions, allowing critical workers who are “pinged” by the NHS test-and-trace app to return to work after a PCR test and undertake daily lateral flow tests, rather than self-isolating for 10 days.
- There were also reports on social media of supermarkets in some areas running out of basic supplies including milk, eggs, bread and rice. The self-isolation problem is adding to shortages of delivery workers, especially HGV lorry drivers, caused by a mix of Brexit, Covid and changes to tax rules.
- The Economist / The shortage of HGV drivers in Britain is getting worse
Politico – Annabelle Dickson, Jakob Hanke Vela and Shawn Pogatchnik / Brussels won’t let Brexit ruin its summer holidays
- The U.K. is pushing for a big Brexit reset — but don’t expect Brussels to shelve its summer plans. Britain’s David Frost spelled out his latest bid to overhaul the divorce deal’s Northern Ireland protocol Wednesday.
- Yet while there was tough talk from the U.K., the EU’s response amounted to a polite: “Fine, we’ll talk, but we’re not reopening the deal.” The Commission sent one of its vice-presidents to deliver its reply on a public holiday in Belgium just days before the European Parliament enters its summer recess.
- “We take note of the statement made by Lord Frost today,” Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission’s point person on Brexit said in a statement. The EU is ready to “continue to seek creative solutions” on trade between Britain and Northern Ireland, he added, but “will not agree to a renegotiation of the protocol.”
- It could not have contrasted more with the stark message delivered in London earlier, where Frost toyed with (but ultimately stopped short of) triggering a key clause to over-ride parts of the agreement. He told lawmakers: “We cannot go on as we are.”
- Euractiv / EU rejects UK demand for new post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland
The New York Times – Sui-Lee Wee / How nations are learning to ‘let it go’ and live with Covid
- England has removed nearly all coronavirus restrictions. Germany is allowing vaccinated people to travel without quarantines. Outdoor mask mandates are mostly gone in Italy. Shopping malls remain open in Singapore.
- Eighteen months after the coronavirus first emerged, governments in Asia, Europe and the Americas are encouraging people to return to their daily rhythms and transition to a new normal in which subways, offices, restaurants and airports are once again full.
- Yet scientists warn that the pandemic exit strategies may be premature. The emergence of more transmissible variants means that even wealthy nations with abundant vaccines, including the United States, remain vulnerable.
- People are being encouraged to shift their pandemic perspective and focus on avoiding severe illness and death instead of infections, which are harder to avoid. And countries with zero-Covid ambitions are rethinking those policies.
- South China Morning Post – John Power / Has the Delta variant curbed the effectiveness of lockdowns in ‘zero coronavirus’ economies like Australia and Hong Kong?
- Just days before devastating floods hit the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, its province of Henan endured heatwaves that swept across several industrial regions, threatening power outages.
- Now the city of more than 10 million is reeling from a record rainstorm that brought a year’s worth of precipitation in three days. The death toll in Henan has climbed to at least 33 and as many as 380,000 people were evacuated.
- Videos of passengers standing in chest-high water waiting to be rescued from subway cabins, cars swept away as floodwater poured through downtown streets, and children trapped in mud started circulating on social media late Tuesday night.
- The scenes echoed the tragedy that struck European countries including Germany and Belgium last week as floods left more than 160 dead and hundreds of people missing. The heavy rains are the latest in a series of extreme weather events this summer that highlight the risks of climate change.
- The Washington Post / Photos: Rescue efforts launched after record floods in central China displace 1.2 million
Today’s further reads:
- Foreign Policy – Jeremy Williams / The racial violence of climate change
- Financial Times – Heba Saleh / Delta variant deepens crisis for Tunisia’s fragile democracy