British PM Reverses Decision, to Self-Isolate After Health Min Tests COVID +ve

Despite being faced with a new wave of COVID-19, Britain is slated to remove all lockdown restrictions on Monday.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Representative Image.&nbsp;</p></div>

A day after the British Prime Minister's Downing Street office announced that PM Boris Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak will be limited to "working from their offices" and will be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis after they came in contact with Health Minister Sajid Javid, who had tested positive for the virus, Johnson took a U-turn and has agreed to self-isolate instead.

Johnson said in a video on Twitter, "We did look briefly at the idea of us taking part in the pilot scheme, which allows people to test daily, but I think it's far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules and that's why I'm going to be self-isolating until Monday 26 July."

This came after backlash from opposition parties who asserted that same rules should be applicable for everyone.

Earlier, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Downing Street office on Sunday had said, "The Prime Minister and Chancellor have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace as contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID."

While the law in the UK requires anyone who had come in contact with a COVID-19 patient to compulsorily isolate for 10 days, both Johnson and Sunak had confirmed that their participation in a study "that allows them to continue working from their offices, and only self-isolate when not working", Reuters reported.

In its statement, Downing Street had said that both will "participating in the daily contact testing pilot to allow them to continue to work from Downing Street". It added that the duo will be performing only "essential government business" during this period.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer however, asked the PM, "Today's latest fiasco of yourself and the chancellor being magically selected for a testing trial so you could avoid isolation like the rest of us is just the latest example of the Conservatives fixing the rules to benefit themselves, and only backtracking when they were found out", BBC reported.

Despite being faced with a new wave of COVID-19, Britain is slated to remove all lockdown restrictions on Monday, 19 July. The government has banked on vaccines for its decision, which they say has broken the link between cases and mortality.

(With inputs from Reuters and BBC)

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