“The British government has asked public sector managers to test their contingency plans against a worst-case scenario of 25% staff absence as part of efforts to minimize disruption from the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19,” per the weekend news from Reuters.
The news cites government fears to witness disruption in business and public services due to the record high daily infections.
So far, disruption caused by Omicron has been controlled in most parts of the public sector, but public sector leaders have been asked to test plans against worst-case scenarios of workforce absence of 10%, 20% and 25%.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked ministers to work closely with their respective sectors to develop robust contingency plans.
There is work ongoing to identify potential regulatory, policy or operational changes which could minimize or alleviate potential disruption.
The daily number of new COVID-19 infections across the United Kingdom rose to a record 189,846 on Friday, far higher than during previous peaks.
However, hospitalizations and deaths have remained at much lower levels than in previous waves.
The news should weigh on the GBP/USD prices considering the coronavirus fears. However, holidays in the UK and most Asia-Pacific markets limit the reaction to the news. That said, the cable pair trades near 1.3530 by the press time.