News and daytime programmes have been particularly impacted (Picture: ITV)
ITV is pleading with the government for isolation exemptions as the ‘pingdemic’ continues to cause havoc among its news and daytime television crews.
Staff have been impacted after being notified by the NHS test and trace app. It comes as a record number of people in England and Wales were ‘pinged’ and told to self-isolate for up to 10 days in the week to July 14, with 618,903 alerts sent to users.
Chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said it is proving a ‘difficult situation’ for the broadcaster’s production operations.
She also revealed that ITV has been holding discussions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) over possible exemptions for workers on certain productions – in particular news and daytime programmes.
‘I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a difficult situation from a production point of view, because clearly it is,’ she said.
‘We have people on set – we’ve got crews and cast – and don’t want to lose anybody to self-isolation.’
Despite the pingdemic, there is ‘no risk that shows will come off air’ (Picture: S Meddle/ITV)
She added: ‘We have been in talks with DCMS about exemptions for certain aspects of production for television, because we do some vital services as a public service broadcaster.’
According to ITV, the government is considering the request but a decision is unlikely until mid-August.
It comes after a scheme allowing critical workers to be tested to avoid Covid self-isolation in England was expanded due to increasing staff shortages.
The Government extended the list earlier this week to cover another 1,200 key businesses and employers, on top of the 800 already identified.
Despite the difficulties brought on by staff shortages, Ms McCall said that there is ‘no risk that shows will come off air’.
‘It’s a worry, but so far we are managing it and mitigating it,’ she said.
The ‘pingdemic’ also caused BBC Breakfast to scrap its regional news bulletins earlier this week.
Local reporting has now been shelved until September as crew members have been forced to isolate after being notified by the NHS test and trace app.
‘Like employers in every area of the economy, we’re experiencing unprecedented staffing shortages caused by Covid,’ a BBC spokesperson said.
Credit: Original article published here.