Covid app ping exemption: full list of job sectors where workers can avoid self-isolation

23 July 2021, 10:52 | Updated: 27 July 2021, 10:48

Covid app ping exemption: The full list of sectors where workers can avoid self-isolation
Covid app ping exemption: The full list of sectors where workers can avoid self-isolation. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

The Government has expanded its list of critical workers who have been told they can avoid self-isolation if pinged by the NHS app.

Over the past couple of weeks, many industries have said they've been put under strain after workers have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace system.

In response to the so-called "pingdemic", the Government has now said that some critical workers won't have to self-isolate if they get pinged, providing they test negative for Covid-19.

But which sectors are included? Here's the full list of exemptions...

Who do the new rules apply to?

The new rules will apply to some fully-vaccinated workers - people who had their second dose more than 14 days ago.

Supermarket depot workers and food manufacturers, meanwhile, will be exempt from quarantine rules and allowed to do daily testing instead.

The exemptions will allow people identified as contacts by NHS Test and Trace or the app to carry on working if their failure to do so would have a "major detrimental impact" or risk national security.

The Government said it "will not cover all or in most cases even the majority of workers in critical sectors".

It is not a "blanket exemption" for all employees in a sector and only applies to those who have written approval of their request.

There may be some "exceptional" circumstances where a role meets the criteria but is not on the list, in which case the employer is advised to contact the relevant Government department where queries will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Daily testing is going to be offered to workers in food production and supply chains to avoid staff shortages.

The Government scheme doesn't include retailers, who have complained about staff shortages because of "pings" from the NHS app.

Which sectors are on the exemption list?

  • Energy
  • Civil nuclear
  • Digital infrastructure
  • Food production and supply
  • Waste
  • Water
  • Veterinary medicines
  • Essential chemicals
  • Essential transport
  • Medicines
  • Medical devices
  • Clinical consumable supplies
  • Emergency services
  • Border control
  • Essential defence outputs
  • Local government
  • Manufacturing maintenance
  • Engineers
  • Specialist reach truck drivers
  • Official vets
  • Environmental health officers
  • Landfill operators
  • Water engineers
  • Laboratory staff essential to the batch release of medicines
  • Environmental agency staff operating critical flood defence assets
  • Prisons
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecoms
  • Defence
  • Communications
  • Space
  • Fish
  • HMRC

But exemptions in most of these areas will be "very limited", the Government said.

When do I need to self-isolate?

Currently, you must self-isolate for 10 days if:

  • You have symptoms
  • You test positive for Covid-19
  • You live with someone with Covid symptoms
  • You live with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
  • You are told by the NHS Covid app that you must self-isolate
  • You arrive to the UK from a "red list" or "amber list" country