New pingdemic from Covid variant Omicron 'will knock £2billion off economy'

A NEW pingdemic arising from the latest Covid variant would knock at least £2billion off the economy, a think tank claims.

The Institute of Economic Affairs believes the measures could end up hammering the economy.

Spokesman Julian Jessop said: “The main short-term risk to the economy comes from the tightening of the self-isolation rules, which could trigger another pingdemic.

"This would disrupt schools and businesses in the crucial pre-Christmas period.”

Labour shortages would amplify the impact compared with the July pingdemic — costing £2billion, he added.

Yesterday, business leaders also warned ministers the new strain could dampen consumer confidence in the run-up to Christmas and called for clarity on further measures if cases rise.

However, the economy should recover quickly if the variant proves to be milder than first feared, Mr Jessop predicted.

Those hopes sparked a rally in the FTSE100 index of leading firms yesterday.

It regained nearly one per cent of Friday’s 3.6 per cent slump when the news broke.

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