The government’s self-isolation rules fell further into shambles as No 10 slapped down a minister for saying people could ignore being pinged by the NHS app if they believed it was the right thing to do.
Paul Scully struck a starkly different tone from Boris Johnson’s press briefing when the Prime Minister emphasised that self-isolation rules must stay in place to control rising infections.
The business minister emphasised that obeying the app wasn’t a legal requirement, and people were being urged to make choices on what’s best for them.
No 10 quickly tried to correct Paul Scully, maintaining it was important people isolate when told to do so by the app or by contact tracers, but the intervention fuelled mounting confusion about how the public should behave as rising cases sparked a wave of quarantine instructions.
Businesses have warned they’re being made to reduce hours or shut down as so many staff are absent, while there have been rumours of bare supermarket racks, cascading bins and trains being postponed or withdrawn.
BP highlighted fuel supply problems at some garages, blaming industry-wide driver shortages together with the closure of distribution due to staff isolating.
About 1.7 million are believed to be isolating currently, with the problem set to get much more serious as cases keep climbing.
However, the Prime Minister dismissed calls to make the app less sensitive or bring forward a daily testing scheme for the fully vaccinated, due to come into force from August 16.
Instead, there are only exemptions for very limited groups of key workers, including some frontline NHS workers and parts of the food chain.
On another turbulent day in the coronavirus crisis, the pound hit a five-month low against the US dollar amid concerns that Freedom Day was turning sour and the government would need to reimpose restrictions to control mounting cases.
Boris Johnson has been accused of forcing compulsory vaccination after he threatened to make anyone going to a nightclub prove they’re double jabbed.
Dominic Cummings claimed the Prime Minister resisted pleas for a second lockdown last autumn, quipping that the COVID pandemic was only killing pensioners.
And according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 183 deaths recorded in England and Wales in the week ending July 9 mentioned COVID 19 on the death certificate, up 68 per cent on the previous week.
But there seems to be nothing but chaos and mixed messages and nothing but confusion at the heart of government, and if they can put the people into the same kind of confusion and chaos, it becomes far easier to manipulate, change and control behaviour, as it’s been throughout the whole of this pandemic, but this is the most expeditious route to anarchy.
This is brilliant, yet again, a minister that says one thing, only to be contradicted twenty minutes later by Downing Street. Do they actually get briefed or communicate with each other?
Of course, you can’t get pinged if you don’t have the app, but even if you did, all you have to do is turn off the Track and Trace part in the settings.
The incompetent and right-leaning populist Tory government spent 37 billion on the Track and Trace app, and then we’re told by someone to ignore it – you’ve just got to love British humour!
And if the very ambitious Mr Scully can’t bring himself to support the government line, then it implies that he doesn’t believe that Boris Johnson is going to be about for much longer, or that Mr Scully himself will be getting the push very soon, and perhaps he’s trying to impress the potential successor to Boris Johnson – rats and a sinking ship springs to mind.