By Marie Jackson
Downing Street has insisted it is "crucial" to self-isolate erstwhile sent an alert by the Covid app - and businesses should assistance employees to bash so.
It comes aft concern curate Paul Scully said helium would promote radical who are "pinged" to self-isolate but they tin marque an "informed decision".
The app has ever been voluntary to download and immoderate alerts are advisory.
Labour accused the authorities of "making it up arsenic they spell along" and creating confusion.
In caller days, determination has been wide disapproval that the app has been sending retired truthful galore alerts that hundreds of thousands of radical are self-isolating and missing work, causing wide disruption.
Pub chains, supermarkets, transport networks and different businesses person warned of the crippling effect broad stay-at-home orders for adjacent contacts were having connected their operations.
People who are "pinged" by the NHS Covid app and told they person been successful adjacent interaction with idiosyncratic with coronavirus are advised - but not legally obliged - to self-isolate for 10 days.
However, anyone contacted straight by NHS Test and Trace - either by phone, substance oregon email - indispensable self-isolate.
Asked whether radical should self-isolate if they are "pinged", Mr Scully told the BBC: "I would perfectly promote radical to bash that. But they tin marque an informed decision.
"I don't privation to person to mandate radical and archer radical what to bash arsenic authorities immoderate longer than I truly person to.
"But they bash person a work to themselves, to their families and to their communities. It's by doing the close happening that we tin support Covid astatine bay."
He added that aforesaid isolation was a "really important tool" alongside the vaccination programme, adding that an estimated 8,000 lives had been saved by it implicit the past fewer months.
Earlier, helium told Times Radio that self-isolating aft being told to by the app was a determination for individuals and employers.
"It's important to recognize the rules," helium said. "You person to legally isolate if you are... contacted by Test and Trace, oregon if you're trying to assertion isolation payments. The app is determination to let you to marque informed decisions."
Following the minister's circular of media interviews, Downing Street attempted to clarify the government's position, insisting isolation remained the "most important action" radical tin instrumentality to halt the dispersed of the virus.
"Given the hazard of having and spreading the microorganism erstwhile radical person been successful interaction with idiosyncratic with Covid, it is important radical isolate erstwhile they are told to bash so, either by NHS Test and Trace oregon by the NHS Covid app," a No 10 spokeswoman said.
"Businesses should beryllium supporting employees to isolate, they should not beryllium encouraging them to interruption isolation."
'Get a grip'
John Edmunds, prof of infectious diseases astatine the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a subordinate of Sage, disagreed with Mr Scully's remark that self-isolating should present beryllium up to individuals.
He told Times Radio that interaction tracing and self-isolation should beryllium maintained "as stringently arsenic we can".
"We person 1 of the highest rates of cases successful the satellite close now. The NHS has been nether strain for a agelong clip and they are engaged trying to drawback up connected operations and are very, precise busy. So to enactment them nether much unit present is going to beryllium awkward," helium added.
Justin Madders, Labour's shadiness wellness minister, accused the authorities of "making it up arsenic they spell along".
"Yet again determination is much disorder and incompetence from the bosom of authorities astatine the disbursal of nationalist health. They request to get a grip," helium said.
While the Covid app tin lone counsel radical to self-isolate, anyone successful England who is called, texted oregon emailed by NHS Test and Trace indispensable isolate for 10 days.
Failure to self-isolate for the afloat clip play tin effect successful a fine, starting from £1,000.
It had antecedently been announced that from 16 August, radical who person been afloat vaccinated successful England volition nary longer person to self-isolate.
- The authorities is expected to springiness much details aboriginal astir which afloat vaccinated cardinal workers, specified arsenic NHS, nutrient and borderline staff, volition nary longer person to self-isolate aft interaction with idiosyncratic with Covid - and would instrumentality regular tests instead
- In the week ending 9 July, determination were 213 deaths involving Covid reported successful England, Scotland and Wales - 82 much than were registered the erstwhile week, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (there were nary figures disposable for Northern Ireland due to the fact that of a slope holiday)
- More than 1 cardinal children successful England were retired of schoolhouse past week owed to Covid-related reasons, authorities figures show