Julian Calls for Faster Action on Removing Isolation Requirement for those Fully Vaccinated
July 13, 2021
Yesterday, Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, confirmed that the July 19 removal of lockdown restrictions – so-called ‘Freedom Day’ – is set to go ahead after available data satisfied the four tests required to proceed to Step 4 of the Prime Minister’s roadmap. While fully supporting the decision to move ahead with lockdown easing next week, Julian used his question to the Health Secretary to renew his calls for the August 16 date when close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid will not have to self-isolate if they have received both their vaccinations to be brough forward.
Julian’s calls were repeated by a number of parliamentary colleagues amidst growing reports of businesses, especially hospitality venues, having to close due to isolating staff. The removal of restrictions on July 19 is supposed to be a long overdue chance for businesses to operate at full capacity allowing them to bounce back from the pandemic but the high numbers of isolating vaccinated staff who are testing negative for coronavirus risk hampering this golden opportunity.
In response to Julian’s question, the Health Secretary said:
“I understand the importance of the point my hon. Friend has made. As I said in response to another question, the date of 16 August is based on the best advice that we can get at this point in time. He may be interested to know that, as well as the test and trace system, there is the NHS covid app. A number of people have referred to the so-called pinging. I want to take a careful look at this to ensure that it can also provide a more proportionate and balanced system, given the rate of vaccination.”
Speaking after the Health Statement, Julian said:
“While the Health Secretary’s response was disappointing, the strength of feeling from backbench colleagues on this issue is undeniable. Since he took on this role, I have been encouraged by Sajid’s willingness to consider all ideas and review policy so I do not think the door is closed on bringing forward the August 16 date.
Aside from the wait until August 16, I am very pleased that next week’s lockdown easing is going ahead. Echoing the words of Chief Medical Officer and the Health Secretary, there will never be a perfect time to fully lift restrictions as the virus cannot be eradicated and the risk of variants will always be with us; but if not now then when? If we dither and delay then we will be heading into winter when the resultant wave of infections will be much riskier.
Ultimately, we need to learn to live with the virus and with the protective shield of vaccinations growing stronger with each day we can approach next week with the confidence that it is the right thing to do for businesses, our families, our mental health, our health service and our country.”