UK Labour leader calls for early end to isolation for fully vaccinated

Opposition calls on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ease the 'pingdemic.'

UK Labour leader calls for early end to isolation for fully vaccinated

U.K. opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer on Friday pressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson to bring forward the date when fully vaccinated people in England will no longer have to isolate if they’ve been in contact with a coronavirus case. 

Starmer urged Johnson to ease the so-called pingdemic, which has caused staff shortages in some industries due to high numbers of people being asked to isolate via contact tracing notifications from the National Health Service’s COVID app, by nixing the self-isolation requirement on August 7 rather than August 16, which is when the government currently plans to do so.

“This has been a summer of chaos for British businesses and British families. The Tory government has never been able to explain the logic of their self-isolation rules and has just repeated the same mistakes over and over again,” Starmer said.  

The Labour leader’s move came after U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Thursday insisted the government would not bring forward the date at which it will ease isolation rules, saying the public just has to “stick with it.”

Starmer called on Johnson to follow the Welsh Labour government’s footsteps, after First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Thursday that fully vaccinated Welsh adults will no longer have to isolate after being pinged from August 7. Everyone aged under 18 will also be exempt from the requirement.

NHS Test and Trace figures on Thursday suggested 689,313 people in England had been told to isolate by the app in the week up to July 21, up more than 70,000 on the previous week.