Covid ping isolation scrapped for workers in 'critical roles' like railways

The exemption will apply to air traffic controllers and rail signallers among others, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced in the House of Commons

Key workers in “critical roles” will no longer have to fully isolate when ‘pinged’ as a contact of someone with Covid, the government announced tonight.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi unveiled new exemptions for certain staff in England – after the PM himself was forced into isolation.

Estimates claim 1.7million people are week are now being told to isolate because they are contacts of someone with Covid-19.

Hundreds of thousands have been ‘pinged’ to isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app, with more contacted by Test and Trace – a legal order.

Downing Street today insisted the so-called ‘pingdemic’ would continue until August 16, when a rule change will allow double-jabbed contacts to skip isolation will take place.

But the government last night announced an exemption for NHS staff, and today followed that up with more exemptions elsewhere.

Mr Zahawi told MPs: “We recognise there are some very specific circumstances where there would be a serious risk of harm to public welfare if people in critical roles are unable to go to workplace, like air traffic controllers or train signallers.

“So people in those kinds of roles who have received two vaccinations plus two weeks beyond the second vaccine will not ned to self isolate to perform those critical tasks

“They will however have to continue to self isolate at all other times.

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“The people eligible for this will received personalised letters setting out the steps they must follow.”

Mr Zahawi said the exemption would be used “sparingly and responsibly” but did not give a full list of exemptions.

The NHS exemption will only apply to frontline staff in cases where their absence could lead to a “significant risk of harm”.

Staff will still need a negative PCR test before they can resume work and then to take daily lateral flow tests.

Decisions on which staff qualify will be made on a case-by-case basis following a risk assessment by the management of the health or social care organisation concerned.

This breaking news story is being updated.



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