NHS Track and Trace app saved '600,000 lives' claims doctor
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The Department of Health and Social Care said the exemption would only apply in cases where an absence of staff could lead to a “significant risk of harm”. The decision comes amid concern from experts that rising staff absences due to forced self-isolating will create further pressure on our burdened health care services.
On Sunday, The Department of Health said that staff will only “be permitted to attend work in exceptional circumstances and where additional safety measures can be upheld”.
Dr Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency chief executive, said: “With the number of cases continuing to rise, it is imperative that we do everything we can to manage this virus and support our NHS and social care services under the strain of increased demand and sustained pressure.
“We have provided specific guidance to NHS and social care settings for circumstances where there is a significant risk to health or safety resulting from staff absence or a critical service cannot run.”
From midnight on Sunday, most Covid restrictions were scrapped across the nation.
However, people will still be required to self-isolate by law should they be “pinged” by the NHS app when they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
The self-isolation rules will not be dropped for those who are fully vaccinated until August 16 at the earliest.
The Press Association, attributing to the Government, says vaccinated frontline NHS staff will be exempt from self-isolating despite being pinged in “exceptional circumstances”.
Staff pinged by the NHS Test and Trace system will need to show 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.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As we learn to live with this virus, it’s important that we ensure frontline staff can keep providing the best possible care and support to people up and down the country.
“These new rules will fortify our collective defences against this awful virus, by allowing fully vaccinated frontline NHS and social care staff to continue to work when needed.”
The comments come less than a day after Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were accused of attempting to dodge self-isolation after being “pinged” following their interactions with Mr Javid who tested positive for the virus on Saturday.
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After a public outcry, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor U-turned on their decision not to self-isolate.
Mr Johnson said: “We’ve got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there.
“Cases are rising, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant.”
On Saturday the UK recorded over 54,000 daily new cases – rivalling the figures last experienced during the wave in January.
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