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Monday, Sep 20, 2021

Self-isolation exemption list expanded amid NHS app ping chaos

Self-isolation exemption list expanded amid NHS app ping chaos

The number of sectors that can skip quarantine as part of a pilot scheme is to be increased, as more testing sites are set up across England.
The expanded scheme will include staff working in prisons, defence, communications, space, fish and HMRC, the Government confirmed.

Meanwhile the number of testing sites is being ramped up to support the daily testing pilot scheme, Sky News reported.

Some 1,200 new sites are being added to the 800 that already exist.

It comes as the government moves to limit the damage being caused to business by the so-called ‘pingdemic’ as workers are being forced to self-isolate for 10 days.

Frontline workers in organisations such as police, fire and Border Force, will carry out daily lateral flow test rather than self-isolating, it was announced last week.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng urged people not to delete their NHS Test and Trace app to avoid being “pinged”.

He said: “We are going to announce a list of exempt workers.

“The list of exemptions will be quite narrow because obviously you have to draw the line somewhere and what we want to do is keep people safe and that is why we have the self-isolation policy in the first place.”

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said daily testing will “play a vital role” in “minimising the potential for disruption caused by rising cases”.

“Whether it’s prison guards reporting for duty, waste collectors keeping our streets clean or workers in our energy sector keeping the lights on, critical workers have been there for us at every stage of this global pandemic,” he said.

“As we learn to live with the virus, we will keep doing everything in our power to break chains of transmission and stop this virus in its tracks.

“Daily contact testing will play a vital role in this, helping minimise the potential for disruption caused by rising cases, while keeping staff protected.”

Emergency service workers and other key workers, including transport, freight and haulage, were already eligible for the pilot scheme if they had received both jabs.

It is understood some 600,000 people were ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app in the week up to July 14.
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