Johnson’s office at 10 Downing St. said Sunday the prime minister was alerted overnight by the test-and-trace phone app. He had a meeting on Friday with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. Javid, who has been fully vaccinated, says he is experiencing mild symptoms.
People who are notified through the app are supposed to isolate themselves, although this is not a legal requirement. In general, positive case contacts are advised to self-isolate for 10 days.
But Johnson’s office says the prime minister will take a daily coronavirus test as part of an alternative system that is being tested in some workplaces, including the government.
The same applies to the head of the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, who was also contacted after meeting Javid. The government says the two men will “ conduct only essential government business during this period. ”
Britain is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and an associated “ pingdemic ” of hundreds of thousands of people being asked to self-quarantine because they have been around someone who tested positive. Businesses such as restaurants, carmakers and the London Underground say they face staff shortages due to self-isolation rules.
Jonathan Ashworth, a health spokesman for the opposition Labor Party, said many people would be angry that there is a special “ VIP ” lane to prevent self-isolation.
“ Waking up this morning to hear that there is a special rule, an exclusive rule, for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, they will say that this seems like a rule for them and something else for the rest of us, ” he said. he told Sky News.
Johnson was seriously ill with the coronavirus in April 2020 and spent three nights hospitalized in intensive care.
His latest exposure comes as his government prepares to lift the remaining lockdown measures on Monday. Nightclubs may reopen in England for the first time since March 2020, sports and entertainment venues may accommodate capacity, crowds and face masks are no longer mandatory indoors.
But the government is urging people to be cautious, as cases rise due to the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus that was first identified in India. More than 54,000 new infections were confirmed on Saturday, the highest daily total since January. Hospitalizations and deaths are also on the rise, but are still much lower than previous spikes in infection thanks to vaccination. More than two-thirds of British adults have received both injections of a vaccine.
British officials look nervously at Israel and the Netherlands, which opened up the partnership after vaccinating the majority of the population. Both countries have recently reimposed some restrictions after new infections emerged.