Staff shortages as a result of Covid-19 self-isolation requirements could cost the economy £35billion in January and February, data analysis has shown.
Experts at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) have predicted there will be an ‘economic cost’ to the country when the absenteeism rate hits the government’s assumptions of 25 per cent.
The predicted loss for those two months, which is equivalent to 8.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), comes as Boris Johnson faced renewed pressure to act to get Britain back to normal today.
The latest analysis for The Sunday Times, which takes note of the fact that nearly 50 per cent of the population is working from home, was carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
Economist at the CEBR Pushpin Singh told The Sunday Times: ‘Even with only a peak of 8 per cent, there will be an economic cost.
‘Nonetheless, we would expect that most of this would be made up during the rest of the year.’
Today Boris Johnson faced renewed pressure to act to get Britain back to normal with demands that Covid rules and measures designed to slow the spread of the disease be stripped away.
The former head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce suggested that coronavirus should be treated more like flu from now on, with booster jabs reserved only for the most vulnerable and at risk, amid signs that the Omicron variant is less severe than previous incarnations.
Dr Clive Dix, chairman of the government agency from December 2020 until April, called for a return to a ‘new normality’ and a focus on disease management, saying: ‘It is pointless keeping giving more and more vaccines to people who are not going to get very ill.
‘We should just let them get ill and deal with that.’