A £500 Covid payment for people required to self-isolate is among the suggestions in a document from the Department of Health.
A £500 Covid payment for people in England required to self-isolate is among the suggestions in a leaked document from the Department of Health.
Covid, £500 to self-isolate considered
There are concerns that the current financial support on offer is not sufficient because workers cannot afford to self-isolate and therefore the idea of a £500 payment has been discussed.
However, a senior government source has downplayed the idea, explaining that although it had been drawn up by civil servants at the Department of Health, it had not been considered by the Prime Minister. The scheme could cost up to £453m per week which is 12 times the cost of the current payouts.
The idea will be discussed by the Covid operations committee chaired by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove soon. This indicates that there was an acceptance in government that too many people were not self-isolating.
George Eustice, Environment Secretary, said that he had not seen the leaked document, but stated that the issue of financial support for people self-isolating was “always kept under review”.
Last September it became law that anyone in England who tests positive for Covid has to self-isolate. An adviser on the government’s Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours, Professor Susan Michie, said that only 18% of people with Covid symptoms are self-isolating for the full 10 days which they are supposed to.
She said: “Many countries are approaching this whole test, trace and isolate system so much better than us and it’s an absolutely key part of the jigsaw of getting out of the pandemic because we can’t rely on vaccine. We need vaccine plus a really good test, trace and isolate system, plus people keeping up with the behaviours, the restrictions, adhering to the guidance.”