Your overview of political and economic news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry, featuring the latest guidance on COVID-19 and planning for the end of the transition period with the EU.
Clinically extremely vulnerable
Updated government advice strongly advises those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 to stay at home. However, this is not mandatory and is a matter of personal choice whether employees in this group, who cannot work from home, wish to continue to work. The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance focusing on the actions employees need to take to support workers in higher-risk groups.
Mass testing in food settings
Pilots are taking place of mass testing for COVID-19 in various food settings, including where outbreaks have been identified. While this is a positive development, it is important to continue adhering to the principles of managing an outbreak including cohorting, risk assessments and maintaining social distancing within the workplace.
The government has announced that following the launch of a mass testing trial in Liverpool, 600,000 lateral flow tests will be sent out by NHS Test and Trace to local public health leaders this week.
Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that phase 3 studies of their potential COVID-19 vaccine were 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants. The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month. The UK should get 10 million doses by the end of the year, with a further 30 million doses already ordered.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published interim advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination.
Trading and stockpiling
Following the announcement of a national lockdown there continue to be reports of significantly increased demand, particularly for household paper, bacterial wipes and tins and packaged goods. The supply chain remains resilient with no significant shortages. Demand for online delivery slots is also reported to have risen significantly.
Latest IGD research conducted 6-8 November has revealed that 52% of shoppers claimed to have stockpiled or bought extra recently. This has increased from last Wednesday and Thursday when less than half of shoppers (45%) claimed to have stocked up. The level of stockpiling is at a similar level to last weekend (55%).
Claimed stockpiling has increased the most since last Wednesday and Thursday in Yorkshire and Humberside, Eastern England, the South East and East Midlands.
EU exit update webinar
With just seven weeks to go until the end of the transition period and talks between the UK and EU entering the final stages register for the next IGD EU Exit Webinar update on 19 November.
IGD continues to urge members to prepare for “no-deal”. See our EU Exit Checklist.
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