- Greene King and PureGym are the latest big businesses to call for move towards a test and release scheme
- Boris Johnson U-turned after announcing that he would dodge the self-isolation rules for Covid contacts
- Ministers have dismissed the prospect of double-jabbed being let off the isolation rules before August 16
- Mr Johnson was already under pressure ahead of Freedom Day and plans were thrown into complete disarray
Freedom Day was branded ‘disaster day’ by stricken businesses today as self-isolating Boris Johnson faces fresh demands to dump farcical test and trace rules to stop the country becoming the ‘United Pingdom’.
The PM is marking the grand unlocking alone at Chequers, where he will host a ‘virtual’ press conference at 5pm after performing a comical U-turn from initially saying he and Rishi Sunak would dodge quarantine. He has tested negative for coronavirus so far and is not displaying symptoms, according to No10.
But the lifting of almost all legal restrictions has been overshadowed by fears about spiking cases bringing the economy grinding to a halt, as more and more people are doomed to house arrest.
Experts estimate around 1.7million people are still self-isolating after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app or contacted by Test and Trace.
Firms including Iceland and Greene King have warned of serious problems, with some companies having to reduce hours or shut sites completely because up to a quarter of staff are off – as scientists warn the situation could spiral as the UK faces up to 200,000 cases a day.
The Road Haulage Association has warned of impending chaos in supply chains, with chief executive Rod Mackenzie telling the FT: ‘Far from freedom day being freedom day, it’s going to be disaster day.’