Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak u-turn after backlash over scheme to avoid self-isolation despite being pinged

Boris Johnson has abandoned plans to avoid quarantine after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace following a furious political backlash.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 11:12 am
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

The Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak had originally planned to take daily tests rather than self-isolate following meetings last week with Health Secretary Sajid Javid who has tested positive for Covid-19.

But in a dramatic turnaround Downing Street said the two ministers would be self-isolating rather than taking part in a daily contact testing pilot.

“The Prime Minister has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace to say he is a contact of someone with Covid,” a spokesman said.

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“He was at Chequers when contacted by Test and Trace and will remain there to isolate. He will not be taking part in the testing pilot.

“He will continue to conduct meetings with ministers remotely. The Chancellor has also been contacted and will also isolate as required and will not be taking part in the pilot.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted: “Whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong.

The test-and-release pilot which was planned to be used by Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak was being trialled by about 20 public sector organisations including Border Force and Transport for London.

It would have involved the two ministers being tested at a special testing centre set up in Downing Street.

The Prime Minister was ‘pinged’ by the NHS app after Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed he had tested positive for the virus.

Mr Johnson is reported to have had a lengthy meeting with Mr Javid at No 10 on Friday.

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