Boris Johnson says it is ‘far more important’ to stick to Covid rules as he abandons plans to skip quarantine

·4-min read
Boris Johnson says it is ‘far more important’ to stick to Covid rules as he abandons plans to skip quarantine

Boris Johnson has said it is “far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules” as he abandoned plans to avoid quarantine after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak had originally planned to take daily tests rather than self-isolate following meetings last week with Health Secretary Sajid Javid who has tested positive for Covid-19.

But in a dramatic turnaround Downing Street said the two ministers would be self-isolating rather than taking part in a daily contact testing pilot following a furious political backlash over the move.

In a video on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “We did look briefly into the idea of us taking part in the pilot scheme which allows people to test daily, but I think it’s far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules.

“That’s why I’m going to be self-isolating until the 26th of July.

“I really do urge everybody to stick with the programme and take the appropriate course of action when you’re asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.”

He will isolate at Chequers, a spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace to say he is a contact of someone with Covid,” a spokesman said.

Tweets by BorisJohnson

“He was at Chequers when contacted by Test and Trace and will remain there to isolate. He will not be taking part in the testing pilot.

“He will continue to conduct meetings with ministers remotely. The Chancellor has also been contacted and will also isolate as required and will not be taking part in the pilot.”

The U-turn came less that three hours after No 10 announced the two ministers would carry on working in Downing Street while taking daily tests.

It is part of a programme being trialled across 20 public and private sector organisations including Border Force and Network Rail as well as the Cabinet Office and No 10.

That sparked outrage amid warnings it risked undermining the Government’s messaging on continuing to self-isolation at a critical point in the pandemic.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Government was in “chaos” at a time when in needed to maintain public confidence.

Speaking to the media in north London, Sir Keir said: “Yet again, it’s double standards from the Government.

“The Prime Minister is causing utter chaos with his reckless decision making and that means infection rates are going through the roof, hundreds of thousands of people are having to self-isolate, and they’re doing the right thing.

“What happens when the rules apply to the Prime Minister? He tries to wriggle out of them and to pretend that he’s on some pilot scheme that exempts him.

“So I’m afraid yet again, we see it’s one rule for them and another rule for everybody else.”

Sir Keir added of the Prime Minister: “The only reason that he’s U-turned on this is because he’s been busted.

“It’s like bank robbers who’ve got caught and now they’re offering the money back.

“One rule for them, another rule for everybody else. It’s contemptuous of the British public.”

Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson’s leadership was ‘choatic’  today (PA Wire)
Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson’s leadership was ‘choatic’ today (PA Wire)

Asked if he would use a workplace testing scheme instead of isolating if given the option, Sir Keir said: “I would follow the rules and if I was asked to self-isolate, I would self-isolate.

“I wouldn’t do what the Prime Minister has done and pretend I was on some scheme randomly chosen to get out of the rules that are being applied to other people.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the Government’s plans to lift “all restrictions” from Monday as a “mistake” and the “wrong thing to do”.

He said: “I’ve said consistently that lifting all restrictions in one go tomorrow is a mistake, it’s reckless.

“We can already see that the infection rates are going through the roof, we know what’s going to happen with hundreds of thousands of people being asked to self isolate.

“The Prime Minister is essentially putting the whole nation into a car, pressing the accelerator and taking the seatbelt off.”

He said Boris Johnson’s “reckless decisions” were causing “utter chaos”.

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