Free fully-vaccinated from having to isolate sooner than August, Boris Johnson told

24 July 2021, 00:03 | Updated: 24 July 2021, 00:51

Boris Johnson, who himself is currently isolating, is under increasing pressure to bring forward a change that would allow fully-vaccinated people to avoid quarantine as long as they test negative
Boris Johnson, who himself is currently isolating, is under increasing pressure to bring forward a change that would allow fully-vaccinated people to avoid quarantine as long as they test negative. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson is facing growing calls to immediately allow fully vaccinated contacts of coronavirus cases to be freed from isolation if they test negative in order to prevent staffing crises.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has added to demands from businesses to end the "pingdemic" by loosening the rules for people alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Labour mayor teamed up with industry bodies including UKHospitality and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the capital's branch of the Federation of Small Businesses to demand change.

Amid rising coronavirus cases, they warned that staff shortages in pubs and restaurants are being "exacerbated" and leading to temporary closure as a result of pings from the NHS Covid-19 app.

Read more: Hundreds of flights to Greece and Spain set for this weekend after amber list rules change

Read more: Daily coronavirus cases in the UK fall again as 36,000 new infections are reported

"The summer months are crucial for many businesses' recovery and their ability to recover must not be put in jeopardy," they said.

"We are therefore calling on you to ensure that the necessary testing is in place to enable people who have been double vaccinated for longer than two weeks and pinged by the NHS Covid app, to immediately return to work, following a negative PCR test, rather than having to self-isolate."

There is also some cross-party support for the rules to be relaxed, with Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt having warned the Government it faces "losing social consent" for isolation if it does not act now.

Environment Secretary explains ping exemption list

Mr Johnson has planned a wider relaxation of the quarantine rules to end isolation for the double-jabbed and under-18s from August 16 if they test negative for coronavirus.

The Prime Minister has already announced a list of sectors where critical workers may be able to avoid having to isolate if told to quarantine by the NHS app.

Read more: Thousands of critical workers freed from 'pingdemic' isolation

Read more: Tube lines closed and train services cut due to staff self-isolating

However, the list is far from exhaustive and business chiefs have warned that many industries, such as the hospitality sector, will continue to suffer from serious disruption as a result of the 'pingdemic'.

It comes as Transport for London (TfL) and other train operators announced revised schedules and closed train lines as the current isolation rules left them short-staffed.

Faith leaders are key workers, caller tells LBC

So far, however, the Government has resisted pressure to broaden the exemption.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told LBC on Thursday that No10 was still planning on maintaining self-isolation rules until next month.

Read more: North East asked to wear face masks indoors and get vaccinated amid 'steep' rise in cases

Read more: Self-employed caller living in fear of NHS app ping worried over loss of income

"I think that we can stick to August 16," he said.

"We wanted to lift restrictions on 19 July and there was clear evidence to suggest that that was a good idea.

"But we also wanted to have a precaution in terms of protecting our people. So I think that self-isolation, once you're pinged, makes complete sense.

"These restrictions aren’t going to last forever."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Donald Trump

Trump campaign says it will begin accepting cryptocurrency contributions

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty in Arizona election interference case

Prince Harry 'turned down the King's invitation to stay at a royal residence'.

Prince Harry ‘turned down King’s offer to stay in royal residence’ during UK trip because it ‘didn't come with security'

A screenshot taken from AP video showing a general view of northern Gaza as seen from southern Israel, before it was seized by Israeli officials

Israel says it will return video equipment seized from news organisation AP

Craig Mackinlay has said he wants to be known as the first 'bionic MP' after losing both his arms and legs to sepsis.

‘I’m the bionic MP’: Craig Mackinlay says he’s ‘lucky to be alive’ as he reveals he lost both feet and hands to sepsis

Former US president Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York

Defence rests without Donald Trump entering witness box in hush money trial

A veterinarian feeds a young howler monkey rescued amid extremely high temperatures in Tecolutilla, Tabasco state, Mexico

Howler monkeys ‘falling out of the trees like apples’ in sweltering Mexico

Mobile coverage is being expanded across the network.

Full list of London Underground stations to receive phone signal this summer - is yours listed?

Prince William hosted a garden party on behalf of his father King Charles

Prince William hosts rain-soaked Buckingham Palace garden party in absence of King Charles

Jan A P Kaczmarek poses with the Oscar for best original score for his work on Finding Neverland during the 77th Academy Awards in February 2005 in Los Angeles

Composer Jan A P Kaczmarek, Oscar winner for Finding Neverland, dies aged 71

Lawbreaking from the extreme-left is just as bad from the extreme-right, Robin Simcox has told LBC.

Lawbreaking by Just Stop Oil is as bad as similar acts by extreme-right, Commissioner for Countering Extremism says

Fred Roos

Fred Roos, Godfather Part II producer and longtime Coppola collaborator, dies

Matthew Trickett, 37, who was on bail after appearing in court accused of assisting the Hong Kong intelligence service

Former Royal Marine charged with spying for China on Hong Kong activists found dead in park in 'unexplained death'

Smokes rise to the sky after explosions in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel

UN halts food distribution in Rafah due to lack of supplies and insecurity

57 cases of cryptosporidium have been confirmed in Brixham

More than 50 people in Devon ill from contaminated water as suppliers announce £3.5m compensation

A photographer takes a picture of the ancient bronze kneeling woman sculpture during a repatriation ceremony at National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand welcomes return of antiquities from New York’s Metropolitan Museum