“It’s good to see a steep fall in those having to self-isolate, but this doesn’t mean the problem has gone away. The latest numbers remain too high and illustrate the frustration facing firms as existing staff shortages are exacerbated by unnecessary self-isolation. Amending the app is a welcome recognition of the problem but won’t provide the solution.
“What’s needed is a three-pronged approach to creating confidence in helping people to live with the virus.
“This starts with mass testing – not mass self-isolation – which remains key to keeping the economy open. With immediate effect the government should bring forward a test and release scheme – for people double-jabbed and for those who have not been – to end unnecessary self-isolation and unnecessary business disruption. A recent Oxford University study of 200,000 children and 20,000 staff has proven the effectiveness of test and release.
“Next, maintain COVID-secure workplace restrictions and safety measures, including hygiene and ventilation, to keep employees and customers safe. This means mandatory guidance for face coverings in certain close contact settings. And if domestic vaccine passports are to be introduced, close coordination with business on design and implementation will be critical for getting the rollout right first time.
“Finally, we must maximise our world-beating vaccine programme by increasing take up wherever possible; delivering an autumn booster programme while super-charging the therapeutics taskforce, to identify, trial and deploy new treatments.”