Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South believes the end of Covid-19 restrictions in England are short-sighted and have no public health advantages.

Last Monday, Boris Johnson announced that from Thursday 24 February it will no longer be a requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for coronavirus, and workers who are sick will have to wait until the fourth day of their illness before they can claim statutory sick pay.

Alongside this, the £500 self-isolation support system will also end, meaning sick workers will be forced to rely on the statutory sick pay, which stands at £96.35 per week, with 7.8 million people relying on this type of sick pay.

Keeley believes that the end to these restrictions are unfair on those who are immunosuppressed: “Everyone should be able to live their lives freely, including people who are clinically vulnerable to the effects of COVID.

“Protections like mask-wearing and self-isolation following a positive test are essential to allow vulnerable people to go about their lives safely. The Prime Minister’s announcement jeopardises the liberty that should be available to all and introduces an inequality of freedom.”




The end to the legal requirement to self-isolate, alongside the end of the self-isolation support, will leave workers with impossible decisions on whether to enter their workplace with Covid or stay off work.

Barbara commented on this: “The change back to only paying sick pay from day 4 of sickness will force people to make the impossible choice of risking the health of people they work with or forfeiting pay to follow Government guidance and self-isolate at home.

“This risks prolonging the COVID pandemic with further outbreaks.”

The Conservative government has come under major fire during the pandemic which has left many people wondering what Labour would have done differently to combat the virus.

Keeley has a background in health and served as the shadow health secretary from 2016 until 2020, and she stated: “Labour published its plan to live well with COVID last month. This plan would put Britain on the front foot and prepare us for how COVID will change and adapt in the coming months and years.”

Alongside the new rules regarding self-isolation free tests will end from 1 April, which Barbara believes is short-sighted: “Saving on free tests may well prove to be and counterproductive if infections rise.

“The criticisms from NHS leaders and experts from Independent SAGE of ending protections like free testing show there is no public health advantage to this decision”


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