UK PM’s decision not to self-isolate after aide’s positive Covid test sparks anger

There were growing questions and anger within the Opposition party ranks on Saturday over UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to not self-isolate following an aide’s positive Covid-19 test.

Downing Street said the UK Prime Minister will not follow the government’s 10-day quarantine guidance for people who come in close contact with someone who goes on to test positive for Covid-19 after a staffer’s positive test following a visit to Scotland. The visit, earlier this week, is said to have been carried out in line with Covid-19 protocols, and it is also claimed that Johnson has not been in close contact with the positive case.

However, according to the ‘Guardian’, a senior government source told the newspaper that Johnson and the official in question were “side-by-side” on several occasions.

“The Prime Minister regularly visits communities across the UK and all aspects of visits are carried out in line with Covid-19 guidance,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“The Prime Minister has not come into close contact with anyone who has tested positive,” the spokesperson said.

But the Opposition Labour Party accused Johnson of “cooking up a reason to be above the rules”.

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The current UK government guidance says someone “can be” a close contact if they have had a face-to-face conversation within one metre with someone testing positive. Or, they can have been within one metre for one minute without face-to-face contact, or within two metres of the person for longer than 15 minutes.

The 15-minute period can count as a single contact, or multiple contacts over the course of one day. The guidance says someone “may also” be a close contact if they have travelled in the same vehicle or plane as the person testing positive.

The civil servant in question is believed to have travelled with the Prime Minister on a Royal Air Force (RAF) Voyager between Glasgow and Aberdeen on Wednesday and the BBC said the member of staff is also reported to have accompanied him on a visit to the Police College in Fife.

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“It’s clear the Prime Minister hasn’t learned anything from what happened last time he tried to cook up a reason to be above the rules everyone else has to follow,” said Labour party chair Anneliese Dodds.

“Senior Conservatives are really taking the public for fools. This is yet another example of one rule for them and another for everyone else,” she said.

Johnson recently left a period of self-isolation after he was identified as a contact of UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who tested positive last month.

Along with UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who was also identified as a contact, Johnson initially tried to avoid quarantine through a workplace daily testing pilot Downing Street is taking part in.

However, both Johnson and Sunak soon did a U-turn and entered into isolation after their plans to take part in the scheme attracted strong Opposition reactions.

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