Supermarket workers may be exempt from isolation if ‘pinged’ by NHS app

The UK Government has not ruled out fully-jabbed supermarket workers being exempted from isolation under new plans – but said there will be no list covering individual sectors.

Downing Street is still contemplating if vaccinated staff from stores, such as Tesco and Asda, can be exempted from latest restrictions, the Mirror reports.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s not a blanket exemption and my understanding is we’re not going to be producing a list covering individual sectors, these business-critical areas will be able to apply for exemptions to their host departments.

“t’s important that anyone who feels they’re in a critical industry or wants to raise potential issues because of isolation are able to contact departments and get advice and where necessary get exemptions.”

Asked specifically about supermarket workers, he said: “We’re not seeking to draw lines specifically around who or who is not exempt. What’s important is to make sure critical services are able to function and get that balance right between requiring people to isolate… but also making sure critical services can function.”

Boris Johnson announced workers in “critical roles” like railway signallers and air traffic controllers will no longer have to fully isolate when ‘pinged’ as a contact of someone with Covid.

They will only be allowed to leave isolation in “exceptional circumstances” if “there would otherwise be a major detrimental impact on essential services”. They must take an initial PCR test then daily lateral flow tests and if they test positive, will have to isolate.

The PM’s spokesman said the exemptions would apply to food, utilities, border staff and NHS among others.

He was unable to say when the new exemptions will begin – or how many people will benefit – four weeks before all double-jabbed ‘ping’ contacts can evade isolation anyway.

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