A year after almost succumbing to coronavirus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in self-isolation after coming into contact with a confirmed case of the virus. Ironically, Johnson enters isolation just as the United Kingdom significantly relaxes regulations regarding coronavirus.
Johnson, along with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, both came into contact with the UK’s new Health Minister, Sajid Javid, who is also self-isolating, for ten days as per UK rules. The Prime Minister will be quarantining at the premier’s country retreat at Chequers, where he was staying when informed by Covid tracing officials from the National Health Service of his need to enter isolation.
Neither Johnson nor his fellow government ministers will be participating in a new pilot program that allows “essential” workers to continue to work from their offices even while isolating, after an initial announcement that they would be doing so was greeted with an outcry.
“Whilst the test-and-trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognize that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong,” the Health Minister wrote on Twitter. “To that end I’ll be self-isolating as normal and not taking part in the pilot.”
The United Kingdom is set to lift almost all coronavirus restrictions on Monday. Face masks will become voluntary, social distancing regulations will no longer apply, and nightclubs, sports stadiums, cinemas, and theaters will be permitted to operate at full capacity.
Daily new infection rates are still high in the country, but the government has stated that given that two-thirds of the adult population has been vaccinated, the risk can be safely managed.