The reason: a face-to-face meeting the Prime Minister held with the Secretary of Health Sajid Javid, who has now tested positive for COVID-19[feminine[feminine, at 10 Downing Street on Friday morning.
There will be some sympathy for Mr. Javid. After all, he had two bites, both Oxford AstraZenecas, on March 17 and May 16, and luckily he has only “very mild” symptoms so far.
As for the Prime Minister, he was in Checkers when Mr Javid made his lunchtime announcement on Saturday, revealing that he “felt a little bit stunned” on Friday night and had therefore undergone a lateral flow test.
While the Prime Minister will no doubt be angry and frustrated at being ‘pinged’, there are worse places to seclude than the 16th century Mansion of Grace and Favor in the beautiful rolling countryside of the Chiltern Hills. .
The Prime Minister, it must be said, has a reputation as someone who thinks that the rules that apply to everyone do not apply to him. But will he evade the rules of isolation this time around?
No doubt he would prefer to follow the lead of Michael Gove, who escaped quarantine when he was “pinched” after attending the Chelsea-Manchester City Champions League final in Porto.
Mr Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, was able to participate in a study, led by Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, which examines whether daily testing can be used as an alternative to self-isolation.
People who have a lateral flow test every morning are allowed to go to their workplace normally and exercise, but are not allowed to socialize with others.
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But if the Prime Minister avoids self-isolation, at a time when 520,000 are isolating themselves and public anger and resentment grows in the face of the “pingdemia”, there will have been a furious outcry.
“If Boris does not isolate himself and use this ‘pilot program’, I will encourage my constituents to do the same,” said an anonymous Tory MP.
“There cannot be one rule for us and one for everyone. “
Absolutely. A Prime Minister’s quarantine dodge would trigger a huge ‘do what I say, not what I do’ row. Remember the fury over Dominic Cummings’ anti-lock eyesight test last year? It would be 10 times worse.
Members of the public are said to have already deactivated their COVID-19 app “en masse”. A waiver of the Prime Minister’s body isolation rules would potentially leave politics in tatters.
Pingemia is already widely discredited because of the way it leaves businesses, public transport and the NHS desperately short of staff and trigger warnings of food shortages.
Where there may be less sympathy for Mr Javid, however, is about his decision to drop isolation for the double hit, but not until a month later, on August 16.
Now Mr Javid has tested positive and the Prime Minister has been “pinged” even if they advance the August 16 change they would be accused of acting out of self-interest.
The PM should therefore smile and support it, take one for the team and enjoy the Chilterns campaign. Freedom Day? Not for him surely!