GB Views: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak right to U-turn and self-isolate following Covid contact

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus

Earlier the Prime Minister and Chancellor said they would be taking part in a pilot scheme which allows contacts of people testing positive for coronavirus to carry out essential activities

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GB News viewers have come out in support of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak's U-turn after they previously announced they would not be self-isolating despite being pinged by the NHS app as being in contact with somebody who tested positive for Covid-19.

Boris Johnson has abandoned plans to avoid quarantine after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace following a furious political backlash.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak had originally planned to take daily tests rather than self-isolate following meetings last week with Health Secretary Sajid Javid who has tested positive for coronavirus.

But in a dramatic turnaround Downing Street said the two ministers would be self-isolating rather than taking part in a daily contact testing pilot.

“The Prime Minister has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace to say he is a contact of someone with Covid,” a spokesman said.

“He was at Chequers when contacted by Test and Trace and will remain there to isolate. He will not be taking part in the testing pilot.

“He will continue to conduct meetings with ministers remotely. The Chancellor has also been contacted and will also isolate as required and will not be taking part in the pilot.”

The U-turn came less that three hours after No 10 announced the two ministers would carry on working in Downing Street while taking daily tests.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaving 10 Downing Street in October 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaving 10 Downing Street in October 2020

It is part of a programme being trialled across 20 public and private sector organisations including Border Force and Network Rail as well as the Cabinet Office and No 10.

That sparked outrage amid warnings it risked undermining the Government’s messaging on continuing to self-isolation at a critical point in the pandemic.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Government was in “chaos” at a time when in needed to maintain public confidence.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been busted yet again for thinking the rules that we are all following don’t apply to them,” he said.

“The way the Prime Minister conducts himself creates chaos, makes for bad government and has deadly consequences for the British public.

“Yet again the Conservatives fixed the rules to benefit themselves and only backtracked when they were found out. They robbed the bank, got caught and have now offered to give the money back.”

Mr Sunak acknowledged that the sense that the rules were not being applied equally to everyone was damaging.

“Whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong,” he tweeted.

“To that end I’ll be self-isolating as normal and not taking part in the pilot.”

The decision means the Prime Minister will now spend so-called “freedom day” on Monday when most lockdown restrictions end in England confined to his official country residence.

Taking part in our Twitter poll, 73% of people said it was right that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak U-turned.