Support for Boris Johnson plunges to lowest level since January, poll shows

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 12: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an update on relaxing restrictions imposed on the country during the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic at a virtual press conference inside the Downing Street Briefing Room on July 12, 2021 in London, England.  The government plans to end most Covid-19 social restrictions, such as the legal mandate to wear masks and distancing rules, in England on July 19. (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Prime Minister’s popularity has taken a hit. (Getty)

Support for Boris Johnson has plunged to its lowest level since the end of January, a new YouGov poll has revealed.

The Prime Minister’s popularity has taken a hit following criticism over a U-turn he made on COVID self-isolation and the growing unrest regarding workers being told to quarantine by the NHS COVID-19 app.

The latest YouGov/Times voting intention poll from 21 July showed the Conservative Party had 38% of the vote, which was 6% down on the previous survey on 16 July.

Labour’s position has improved by 3 points, and it now has a 34% share of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats are on 9% (+1), the Greens 8% (+2) and Reform UK have 3% of the vote.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 19: Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson attends a media briefing on coronavirus online via a screen from Chequers, the country house of the Prime Minister where he is self-isolating at Downing Street on July 19, 2021 in London, England. The Prime Minister and Chancellor were both contacted by Track and Trace this weekend after the Health Minister, Sajod Javid, tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. Today sees the complete relaxation of Covid lockdown rules and is being dubbed
Boris Johnson is self-isolating at his country residence Chequers. (Getty)

Last week, the government performed a U-turn just three hours after announcing Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak would not have to self-isolate – despite both having come into contact with health secretary Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Sunday's rapid turnaround came after anger erupted when the government announced both Johnson and Sunak would be taking part in the daily contact testing pilot that would allow them to continue working without quarantining.

The criticism came as thousands of people were being forced to miss work after being 'pinged'.

Discontent with the government’s self-isolation policy has continued to grow as food industry bosses condemned changes to ease the “pingdemic” as “worse than useless”, hospitality leaders warned of a summer of closures and train operators were forced to cut services.

There were increasing calls for the PM to bring forward his wider relaxation of quarantine rules for the fully vaccinated from 16 August as businesses were hampered by staff being told to isolate as coronavirus cases soar.

To calm industry concerns, ministers published a limited list of critical sectors whose double-jabbed workers are eligible to avoid isolation if they undergo daily testing before the broader easing of rules for England.

Industry leaders said the move did not include sufficient workers, but doctors warned the problem is the Prime Minister has let the virus “rip” and not the “pings” being issued by the NHS COVID-19 app to tell coronavirus contacts to isolate.

KNUTSFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 18: In this photo illustration a smartphone using the NHS Covid-19 app alerts the user
The NHS COVID-19 app alerts the user "You need to self-isolate". (Getty)

British Frozen Food Federation chief executive Richard Harrow said: “Confusion continues to pervade and I have been advised no list until Monday. This is worse than useless.”

In the emergency measures to protect supplies, around 10,000 workers in the food sector were expected to be included in the scheme for fully vaccinated workers to be exempt from isolation if they test negative.

Others in key sectors of the economy and vital public services were also included.

The mounting criticism came as data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed Covid-19 cases continued to rise, with around one in 75 people in England infected.

The estimate of the number testing positive – 741,700 – in the week to July 17 is the highest since the week to January 30.

British Medical Association (BMA) chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said isolation numbers are the “direct result of lack of effective measures by Government that is allowing the virus to let rip throughout the nation”.

Watch: How the world could be better after COVID

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