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Johnson and Sunak not to take part in daily contact testing pilot but others might

Boris Johnson will self-isolate rather than take part in contact daily pilot study. Photo Source: Conservatives/Boris Johnson Official web site
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The Freelance Informer highlights what the daily contact testing pilot is, how it works and why some may be chosen to take part as the number of COVID cases will rise this August and September despite double vaccinations.


Following the announcement that the UK health secretary Sajid Javid had tested positive for Covid-19, the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, despite being contacted by the NHS Test and Trace app as close contacts, were to avoid a 10-day self-isolation rule until public outcry persuaded No 10 to change its decision. The news comes soon before Freedom Day, July 19th, which will see COVID protection rules relaxed and hundreds of thousands of people are being asked to self-isolate via the NHS test and trace app.

According to reports, No 10 said that the PM would initially be participating in a “daily contact testing pilot” that would allow him to continue to work from Downing Street, rather than self-isolating.

If the PM would have continued with that decision, he would have likely taken part in the pilot approach that would release him from self-isolation after 24 hours so that he could have continued his work. This could also be in line with the approach that the NHS may have to take for front line workers due to rising COVID hospital cases. Details of the two approaches can be found below.

What is the daily contact testing pilot?

NHS Test and Trace will invite people who have been traced as a contact to take part in the study, providing they do not have symptoms.

The study will compare 2 approaches to routine testing of contacts:

  • participants in the ‘self-isolation’ group will be given 1 PCR test. They must self-isolate as normal for the full 10-day self-isolation period even if their test result is negative
  • participants in the ‘daily testing’ group will be given 7 rapid lateral flow tests to test daily. They will be given 24-hour release from self-isolation if the test is negative. They will also receive 2 PCR tests

Is another lockdown around the corner?

Professor Chris Whitty spoke of his concerns about the rising number of COVID cases and deaths in the UK just days before Freedom Day is here. If cases continue to rise at the current rate, new restrictions may need to be put in place. As of 15 July, the average 7-day average number of new COVID cases in the UK was 48,720.

Robert Jenrick, the Housing, Communities and Local Government minister, told Sky News, “We won’t really expect this wave of the virus to peak until late August, maybe even early September so there are going to be some quite challenging weeks ahead.”

This comes as cases and hospitalisations continue to surge – with over 100,000 daily infections expected in the summer months. Cases are indiscriminate of whether you have received both doses of the COVID vaccine. Symptoms are much reduced in many cases, however, and many that have received both doses have reported sneezing as one of the predominant symptoms, which is running in parallel with seasonal allergies.

Ranking of COVID symptoms after 2 vaccinations:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sneezing
  4. Sore throat
  5. Loss of smell
Professor Chris Whitty warns that the UK could face further restrictions in as little as 5 weeks if COVID cases continue to rise

From July 19, if you are going to a country on the UK’s amber list, you will no longer need to quarantine for 10 days as of the time of writing. The rules remain the same for green list destinations, which you can read up on here along with the latest list of green countries you can visit without quarantining on your return. These rules could change by the day, so please keep yourself updated through the Government website, your airline and the local government tourism site of your overseas destination.

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