UKHospitality has welcomed the recent Government announcement that the NHS Covid-19 app has been updated to “ping” fewer contacts, but has called for additional measures.
The Department of Health and Social Care released a statement yesterday (2 August) stating that those being contacted by the app to self-isolate has been narrowed from close contacts five days prior to a positive test result to just two days.
In turn, the Government aims to reduce the number of notifications, and has urged the public to continue using the NHS Covid-19 app as restrictions are lifted.
Sajid Javid, health and social care secretary, said that the update will “help ensure” that a balance is struck between reducing the disruption of self-isolation and ensuring the protection of those at risk from the virus.
He added: “It’s so important that people isolate when asked to do so in order to stop the spread of the virus and protect their communities.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive at the industry body, recognised the changes as “absolutely necessary to prevent a complete loss of summer trading”, with 250,000 hospitality workers reportedly affected by “pings at any given point”.
She added: “This will help to alleviate some of the pressure currently being experienced by hard-hit businesses, but is not a silver bullet.
“The fact that fully vaccinated staff will still currently have to self-isolate is a significant barrier to venues operating viably and moving towards recovery.”
Nicholls in turn suggested that a “workable test to release scheme” is introduced at the “soonest possible opportunity”.