UK Labour leader calls for early end to isolation for fully vaccinated

Opposition calls on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ease the 'pingdemic.'

UK Labour leader calls for early end to isolation for fully vaccinated

U.K. opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer on Friday pressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson to bring forward the date when fully vaccinated people in England will no longer have to isolate if they’ve been in contact with a coronavirus case. 

Starmer urged Johnson to ease the so-called pingdemic, which has caused staff shortages in some industries due to high numbers of people being asked to isolate via contact tracing notifications from the National Health Service’s COVID app, by nixing the self-isolation requirement on August 7 rather than August 16, which is when the government currently plans to do so.

“This has been a summer of chaos for British businesses and British families. The Tory government has never been able to explain the logic of their self-isolation rules and has just repeated the same mistakes over and over again,” Starmer said.  

The Labour leader’s move came after U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Thursday insisted the government would not bring forward the date at which it will ease isolation rules, saying the public just has to “stick with it.”

Starmer called on Johnson to follow the Welsh Labour government’s footsteps, after First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Thursday that fully vaccinated Welsh adults will no longer have to isolate after being pinged from August 7. Everyone aged under 18 will also be exempt from the requirement.

NHS Test and Trace figures on Thursday suggested 689,313 people in England had been told to isolate by the app in the week up to July 21, up more than 70,000 on the previous week.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Almost half of Brits think Boris Johnson eased coronavirus rules too soon: poll

Forty-six percent of British voters said they thought restrictions were lifted too early in an exclusive POLITICO poll.

Almost half of Brits think Boris Johnson eased coronavirus rules too soon: poll

Boris Johnson is determined to press ahead and lift coronavirus restrictions — but British voters aren’t so sure.

The U.K. government has come under fire from some scientists for ditching social distancing rules and mask mandates while COVID cases continued to soar on July 19. Initially billed as “freedom day” by elements of the media and some politicians, Johnson eventually struck a more cautious tone as he asked Brits not to treat the easing like a “great jubilee.”

However, an exclusive poll for POLITICO by Redfield and Wilton Strategies suggests Johnson may have moved too soon. Forty-six percent of the 1,500 respondents to the survey conducted on July 29 said it was “too soon” to lift restrictions, compared to 33 percent who thought it was the right time. Just 12 percent thought it was “too late.”

The findings also show that Brits largely remain wary of the virus, continuing to take a number of precautions whether required by law or not.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they would be likely to fully self-isolate if they came into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. This comes despite the U.K.’s “pingdemic,” which caused staff shortages in some industries due to high numbers of people being asked to isolate via contact tracing notifications from the National Health Service’s COVID app. Only 10 percent said they would be unlikely to isolate if asked.

Asked about precautions they had taken in the last month, 56 percent said they had worn a mask in settings where it was not required, 53 percent had avoided large public gatherings and 40 percent had avoided public transport. More than a third (36 percent) said they avoided pubs or restaurants, which have been open in some form in the U.K. since April, while a fifth said they avoided meeting family or friends.

The figure on masks will be of some comfort to government scientists, who continue to stress their importance despite mixed messages from ministers.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance — the U.K.’s most visible scientific experts throughout the pandemic — indicated on July 5 they would continue to wear masks after the July 19 rule change, while Johnson said it would “depend on the circumstances.”

One of his ministers, the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, said on July 4 he would stop wearing a mask when they were no longer legally required. When the government later released advice that said Brits are “expected and recommended” to keep wearing masks after a sharp rise in cases, Jenrick told the BBC he had said nothing of the sort.

Asked by the pollster who they trust more within the context of the coronavirus pandemic, 57 percent of respondents said they trust scientists advising the government more than they trust ministers. Just 1 percent said they trusted the politicians more.

Source : Politico EU More   

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