Full updated list of ‘critical’ sector workers who could avoid self-isolation
The government has published a list of critical workers who no longer will need to self-isolate if they are ‘pinged’ by the Covid app.
Instead, the scheme uses lateral flow tests to allow eligible workers who have been 'pinged' or called by NHS Test and Trace to continue working, provided they test negative each day.
It comes after several sectors warned of staff shortages caused by the ‘pingdemic’.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Whether it’s prison guards reporting for duty, waste collectors keeping our streets clean or workers in our energy sector keeping the lights on, critical workers have been there for us at every stage of this global pandemic.
“As we learn to live with the virus, we will keep doing everything in our power to break chains of transmission and stop this virus in its tracks.
“Daily contact testing will play a vital role in this, helping minimise the potential for disruption caused by rising cases, while keeping staff protected.”
Already those working in the food industry, transport workers, Border Force staff, frontline police and fire services are able to take daily Covid tests instead of qurantining, as part of a pilot scheme.
Now they will be joined by bin collectors, prison staff and those working in defence, just to name a few.
More key workers will be eligible for the scheme under the plans, with 1,200 new workplace sites introduced in a bid to avoid disruption to crucial services as cases soar.
The government said people working in energy, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, chemicals, communications, water, space, fish, veterinary medicine and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will also now be prioritised.
The vast number of people self-isolating after being advised to by the NHS app has been fuelled by the high numbers of Covid infections that have swept the nation as the Delta variant thrived and restrictions were eased.
The scale of the issue was shown by figures stating more than 600,000 people in England and Wales were told to quarantine by the NHS Covid app in the week to 14 July.
Ministers this week have also announced more Covid testing sites, which brings the total number to 2,000.
A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com