A list of critical jobs that will be exempt from full isolation if workers are identified as close contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus is under development, a minister told Sky News.
After Boris Johnson made the initial policy announcement on Monday, a list was due to be released the next day.
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But the government announced that it would not list and employers should instead turn to government departments to enable workers to effectively bypass COVID-19[female[feminine rules.
However, Home Secretary Victoria Atkins told Sky News that a list is still being worked out.
“This is being worked out as I understand it,” she told Kay Burley when asked about the confusion.
“We made an announcement on Monday about some people who work for the NHS and in the care sector.
“A list of these workers is being developed. We have listened, we understand the implications this has.”
When asked why the government couldn’t just use a list of key workers that was put together in the first lockdown last year, Ms Atkins said: ‘It’s a different exercise from last year. in terms of key workers who can return to their workplace.
“It’s a slightly different exercise because scientists will have to calculate how many people equal the risks in terms of the virus spreading across the country.
“It’s a complicated exercise, but it is very worked.”
The prime minister’s spokesman said on Tuesday that the exemption would be determined on a case-by-case basis, with employers having to approach the relevant government department to see if their workers can continue to work after being identified as close contacts of someone. ‘a. who tested positive for COVID.
The spokesperson said this could include some workers in the food industry, utilities, border staff and the NHS, but there is no blanket exemption for sectors.
He added: “I don’t have a precise figure for you at the moment. As these discussions unfold, we may have a clearer idea of the figures, but as the prime minister has. indicated yesterday, it will be a very small number of people. “
When asked if it would be on the scale of hundreds or thousands, the spokesperson said: “I wouldn’t want to define specific numbers at this point.”
As to whether supermarket workers would be specifically included in the exemption, he said the government “is not looking to draw lines specifically around who or who is not exempt” but it is important to “s’ ensure that essential services are able to function “.
He added: “The first exemptions that I understand have already been granted in some critical areas, this work is ongoing given the urgency. This affects both broader areas and the NHS as well.”
Industry representatives said the new rules are confusing and companies need urgent clarification.
In recent weeks, there have been more and more calls to change isolation rules, amid warnings that the number of people being asked to quarantine is having a crippling effect on businesses.
Dubbed the ‘pingdemic’, a growing number of people have been alerted by the NHS COVID-19 app in recent weeks, meaning many critical workers without symptoms – who cannot work from home – must self-isolate.
In the first week of July, more than half a million people were asked to self-isolate, a 46% increase from the previous week and a record number.
Starting August 16, those under 18 and fully vaccinated people will no longer be asked to self-isolate if they come into close contact with someone who tests positive.
Instead, they will be encouraged to take a test. Anyone who tests positive will still be legally required to self-isolate, regardless of their immunization status.