Meat companies across the UK have reported that up to one in 10 staff members have been told to self-isolate as close contacts of Covid-19 from the NHS Covid app.

Nick Allen of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has warned that companies could soon be forced to shut down their production lines due to an increasing shortage of staff.

The meat industry currently employs an estimated 97,000 people across the UK but staff shortages had been reported as far back as early 2020, before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was estimated that some meat processing firms were operating with a staff shortage of around 10% and the current rise in absent workers has increased the problem.

Allen said that as a result, “companies are having to simplify down their range of products to compensate for key skills being removed from their production lines”.

If the UK workforce situation deteriorates further, companies will be forced to start shutting down production lines all together.

A record number of people across England and Wales were sent self-isolation alerts during the first week of July by the NHS Covid app with 530,126 alerts sent out.

This was a 46% rise on the week before and those who have been sent alerts must isolate for 10 days as they have been deemed a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case.