Updated: Aug 20, 2021
UK in the grip of a 'Ping-Demic'
Downing Street has issued a new warning over the need for people to self-isolate if they are "pinged" by the Covid-19 app after a minister said it was "up to individuals and employers" whether they chose to follow advice.
After business minister Paul Scully said being pinged would "allow you to make informed decisions", a No.10 spokesperson was quick to correct the record to emphasise that “it is crucial people isolate when they are told to do so”.
“Isolation remains the most important action people can take to stop the spread of the virus," the spokesperson said.
"It is crucial people isolate when they are told to do so, either by NHS Test and Trace or by the NHS covid app.
"Businesses should be supporting employees to isolate, they should not be encouraging them to break isolation.”
But the messages from government on whether or not people should self-isolate continues to be mixed, amid concerns staff shortages as a result of people self-isolating are affecting the economy.
PoliticsHome understands Scully, the small business ministers, emphasised the advisory nature of the app’s notifications in a call with hospitality firms last week.
This morning The Times reported Lord Grimstone of Boscobel, the investment minister, stressed in a letter to one large employer the software was only an “advisory tool” and people were not under any “legal duty” to self-isolate.
Speaking about the issue to Times Radio this morning, Scully echoed that sentiment. "The app is there to allow you to make informed decisions," he said.
"I think by backing out of mandating a lot of things, we're encouraging people to really get the data in their own hands to be able to make decisions on what's best for them, whether they're employer or an employee."