WASTE collection in Basingstoke could be affected in the coming days after several members of staff have been forced to self-isolate due to Covid-19, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) has warned.

The council are now urging residents to leave their bins out even if the rubbish has not been collected on the usual day, adding the crews will return “as soon as possible.”.

Speaking to the Gazette, BDBC’s Cabinet Member for Recycling Waste and Regulatory Services Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “We are currently experiencing high numbers of waste collection staff being required to self-isolate.

“As a result, some residents may experience disruption to collection services. We would ask them to continue to leave their bin out in its usual collection place and the crew will return as soon as possible. We are grateful for our residents’ continued patience and support during this challenging time.”

With case numbers rising sharply as restrictions are lifted, England has seen what has been dubbed as a “pingdemic”, with hundreds of thousands of people told to stay at home after being deemed to have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Latest figures showed more than 500,000 people in England and Wales were notified by the NHS Covid app to self-isolate – so-called being “pinged” – in the week up to July 1.

It means local services have been disrupted alongside many small businesses are having to close completely, while even larger companies are affected – pub chain Greene King has shut 33 pubs in the last week, and PureGym said up to 25 per cent of staff are isolating in some areas.

Basingstoke Gazette: (Image: PA)(Image: PA)

The pingdemic has led to calls from business owners to reform the current self-isolation rules.

NHS guidance says that people should self-isolate immediately if they have Covid-19 symptoms, test positive for the virus, live with someone with symptoms or has tested positive, or have been told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app.

People isolating should not go to school, work or public places, use public transport or taxis, go out for food or medicine, have visitors, or go out for exercise.

While there is a legal duty in England for people to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, this does not extend to the app.

So people who do not isolate after testing positive or being contacted by NHS Test and Trace can face fines of up to £10,000 – this does not apply to people being pinged.

The Government has said this is because users of the official NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app are anonymous and “we cannot force them to self-isolate or identify them if they are not self-isolating”.