Day: 28 August 2021

Supermarkets Planning to Scrap Plastic Screens

In another small step towards normality, supermarket bosses have finally begun preparations to remove the plastic screens at tills that were intended to act as a protective measure against Covid. The Telegraph has the story.

Major supermarkets and non-food retailers have held early discussions with contractors over how and when they might be taken down, industry sources said. One senior executive said: “They don’t want the removal to be just another plastic crime that occurs, so we’ve started those discussions.” 

One of the options being considered is a scheme to recycle the screens en masse and recover some of the costs of purchasing them at the start of the pandemic.

Supermarkets spent hundreds of millions of pounds on measures such as screens, antibacterial gel and extra staff at the doors.

The costs were cited by some retailers, including Iceland and Waitrose, as a reason not to pay back the business rates relief even as food sales boomed.

Although no deadline has been set, one removal company is putting together a plan “to get rid of them”.

After ‘Freedom Day’ in July, sandwich chain Pret was the first company to remove screens saying it would “help speed up service and ensure we limit overcrowding”. It also swiftly made face coverings voluntary for staff and customers. High street retailers were divided at the time whether to ask customers to keep their masks.

Since July, the Government has asked employers to continue to use measures to reduce potential spread of the virus, but much of the language now involves “encouraging” firms to do so.

Worth reading in full.

‘No Jab, No Job’ Policy Introduced for NSW Teachers

Teachers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, will be sacked if they choose not to get vaccinated against Covid, the State Government has announced, as part of its plan to reopen schools from October. The Mail Australia has the story.

The plan will enforce mandatory vaccination for all teaching staff by November 8th, as schools begin a staggered return to face-to-face education from October 25th.

A NSW Department of Education survey revealed almost 70% of staff had received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 40% double jabbed.

But one in 10 workers said they were not booked in or planned to get immunised within the next month.

In a webinar video seen by Daily Mail Australia, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education Georgina Harrison warned staff about the mandatory jab requirement.

“It will mean under the public health order that they (teachers) are lawfully unable to work for us, and we will have to look at measures such as leave without pay until someone could get vaccinated, or possibly terminating their employment because it will be a requirement of employment,” Ms. Harrison said.

“This is a really significant and serious step, it has not been taken lightly. Know that it has been taken on the very best health advice about what will protect our whole school community the best as we plan for return.”

The move has outraged One Nation leader Mark Latham, who took to Twitter in a fury on Saturday to criticise the vaccination mandate.

“NSW Department of Education employs 100,000 people. Staff survey shows 10% do not plan to be vaccinated,” he wrote.

“Under yesterday’s mandatory vaccination announcement up to 10,000 are to be sacked by November. How can this be the policy when Covid is not a high-risk illness for children?”

Worth reading in full.

Two Die After Taking Moderna Vaccine From Now-Suspended Batches

Two men in their 30s have died in Japan after being given a dose of the Moderna Covid vaccine from batches that have since been suspended following the discovery of contaminants. Reuters has the story.

The men in their 30s died this month within days of receiving their second Moderna doses, the [Japanese Health] Ministry said in a release. Each had a shot from one of three manufacturing lots suspended on Thursday. The causes of death are being investigated.

Japan halted the use of 1.63 million Moderna doses shipped to 863 vaccination centres nationwide, more than a week after the domestic distributor, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, received reports of contaminants in some vials.

“At this time, we do not have any evidence that these deaths are caused by the Moderna Covid vaccine,” Moderna and Takeda said in a statement on Saturday. “It is important to conduct a formal investigation to determine whether there is any connection.”

The Government has also said no safety or efficacy issues had been identified and the suspension of the three Moderna batches was a precaution. …

The contaminants found in some vials in Japan are believed to be metallic particles, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing Health Ministry sources.

Worth reading in full.

News Round-Up