Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer challenged government to match Wales by bringing forward the date for people to be fully vaccinated in England can avoid isolation after contact with a Covid-19 case.
Labor Prime Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford, has confirmed that August 7 will be the day double-bitten adults can escape isolation if they come into contact with a positive case of the coronavirus.
Scotland is also expected to remove the need for fully vaccinated people to self-isolate on August 9, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted England is ‘nailed down’ to do the same from August 16. .
Sir Keir, however, asked why England should have a schedule later, saying it risks creating more pain for families and businesses.
“It has been a summer of chaos for British businesses and British families,” Sir Keir said in a statement.
“The Conservative government has never been able to explain the logic of its self-isolation rules and has just repeated the same mistakes over and over again.
“As the British public tried to do the right thing, we saw this government’s instincts when Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak tried to avoid the isolation millions had to endure.
“The government’s botched approach to this global pandemic is crippling our economy and creating real problems for businesses and families. Welsh Labor has shown what can be done and it is time for the Conservatives to do the same.
Wales’ change will take effect on the same day the country is expected to move to zero alert – when most restrictions on coronaviruses are lifted.
Coronavirus: what you need to know
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 or exhibits symptoms must continue to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status, the Welsh government has said.
He will also advise people identified as contact of a positive case to undergo a PCR test on days two and eight, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
Earlier this month, Westminster MPs and business leaders urged Mr Johnson to bring forward the date to ease isolation restrictions after an increase in Covid cases led to an increase in the number of people “Pinched” by the app, causing disruption in several areas.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid then defended the August 16 date by insisting that it was chosen to allow more people to be fully vaccinated – and ultimately reduce the risk of serious illness.
Elsewhere, the UK government has also faced calls for recall from Parliament over concerns that passports for Covid vaccines have been introduced by ‘stealth’ through the NHS app.
Confirming the rule change for Wales, Mr Drakeford said: ‘Self-isolation on symptoms or a positive test result continues to be a powerful measure to help break chains of transmission and stop the spread of the virus.
“It is important that we keep this, even for people who have been fully vaccinated.
“But we know that a full cycle of the vaccine gives people protection against the virus and that they are much less likely to contract it when identified as close contacts.
“This means they no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days. “
Data released Thursday showed the number of people asked to self-isolate reached another record, with nearly 700,000 alerts sent to Covid app users in England and Wales.
The so-called ‘pingemia’ led to 689,313 alerts being sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app last week, telling them they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Some frontline workers are exempt from isolation, including those in prisons, garbage collection, defense, the food industry, transport, border forces, and police and fire departments.
Daily negative test results allow eligible workers who have been alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app or called by NHS Test and Trace as coronavirus contacts to continue working.
Elsewhere, figures from Public Health England estimated that Covid vaccines have prevented around 22 million infections and 60,000 deaths in England.
The data also suggests that the jabs would have directly avoided more than 52,600 hospitalizations.
The figures were released as England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said he hoped the worst of the pandemic was over in the UK, while warning he could there may be a “bumpy period or two” ahead.
On the NHS app, an adjustment to the wording of the NHS Covid Pass section has raised concerns.
It now includes a ‘domestic’ section, which reads: ‘You may need to show your NHS Covid Pass at places that have chosen to use the service. “
The government has said it wants to make vaccine passports mandatory for certain settings – such as nightclubs – and overcrowded events starting in the fall.