MONDAY, July 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) — After facing an uproar, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will spend 10 days self-isolating after contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.
Johnson and treasury head Rishi Sunak met recently with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Both were alerted to their status by Britain’s test-and-trace phone app, the Associated Press reported.
Under guidelines, people who know they’ve been near someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for 10 days, although they are under no legal obligation to do so.
Javid, who has been fully vaccinated, says he has mild symptoms, and initially, Johnson’s office said he and Sunak would take daily coronavirus tests instead of self-isolating. That approach is being used in a pilot project in government offices and some other workplaces.
But the testing-only approach for Johnson and Sunak was cut short after an outcry over what appeared to be special treatment for politicians, the AP reported. Now, Johnson will self-isolate at Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence, the news agency reported.
“I think it is far more important that everyone sticks to the same rules, and that’s why I’m going to be self-isolating until Monday, July 26,” Johnson said in a video message.
Johnson already had a serious bout of COVID-19 early in the pandemic: In April 2020 he spent three nights in an intensive care unit fighting off the virus.
As in many other countries, the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant is triggering a new surge in COVID-19 cases throughout Britain. At the same time, the test-and-trace app is causing what some are calling a “ping-demic” of people reporting sick for work because they’ve been alerted to the possibility of being infected with COVID-19.
According to the AP, that’s causing staff shortages that are threatening the normal operation of schools, hospitals and transportation systems across the United Kingdom. The British government says it will stop the requirement for people who have been fully vaccinated to self-isolate after contact with an infected person, but not until Aug. 16.
Find out more about COVID-19 at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: Associated Press