Business: Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 26th July 2021.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of staff being told to self-isolate after the easing of covid-19 restrictions on 19 July 2021 on businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne Central constituency where infection rates are higher than national average.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

On Monday 5 July, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out the details of the final stage of the roadmap and our approach for managing Covid as we learn to live with the virus. The ‘Working Safely’ guidance was updated on 14 July in advance of moving to step 4. Isolation remains the most important action people can take to stop the spread of the virus. It is crucial people isolate immediately when they are told to do so. Businesses should be supporting employees to self-isolate.

From 16 August, those who are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test. Until these changes come into effect, it is essential that everyone continues to observe the rules to protect those who are not yet fully vaccinated or are clinically vulnerable. Anyone who tests positive will still need to self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status.

In order to protect the delivery of public services, a very limited number of named critical workers will be informed that they are considered to have reasonable excuse to leave self-isolation if they are contacts. This will only apply to workers who are fully vaccinated (someone who is 14 days post-second dose) and is solely for the purpose of going to work.

This is a small and targeted intervention, enabling individuals to attend work where not doing so would lead to major detrimental impact on the availability, integrity or delivery of essential services – including services whose integrity, if compromised, could result in significant loss of life or casualties, and/or attend work where not doing so would result in significant impact on national security, defence, or the functioning of the state.

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