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Omicron: Increasing staff shortages in critical infrastructure


The Omicron wave has resulted in increasing staff shortages in Berlin's so-called critical infrastructure.

15 percent of staff absent on average

On average, the absence rate among employees is around 15 percent or slightly higher, said Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) on Tuesday (Jan. 25, 2022) after a Senate meeting. An increasing trend is to be observed in the fire department and in the medical sector, she said. Meanwhile, the State Office for Refugee Affairs and the district office Neukölln are most affected. Here, the warning light of the four-stage monitoring system is on red, which means a critical impairment.

Critical infrastructure includes, for example, police and fire departments, the health sector, clinics, waterworks, energy suppliers, transport companies, but also city cleaning services, the food trade and the judiciary system. If too many staff are absent due to Coronavirus, whether as a result of infection, as a contact person in quarantine or due to a lack of childcare, maintaining operations will become problematic.

20 to 30 percent of absent employees would still be manageable

With the help of a recently established four-stage monitoring system with corresponding warning lights, the Senate wants to keep a close eye on developments. As Giffey explained, green ligh stands for no impairment, yellow for minor impairment, orange for significant impairment and red for critical impairment. If 20 to 30 percent of staff were absent, that would still be manageable, Giffey said. "If we get to over 30 percent, which is not foreseeable at the moment, then we need other measures." She cited limited services as one example. The BVG had already responded to staff shortages by reducing services on certain bus, tram and subway lines. However, Giffey said that the supply and connection of all stations in the network was guaranteed.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 26 January 2022
Last updated: 26 January 2022

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