Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been exposed to COVID-19 but will be exempt from some self-isolation rules and allowed to continue with their essential work, drawing accusations of hypocrisy from opponents.
A day after Sajid Javid revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, Johnson and Sunak were identified as contacts of someone with the virus
Despite a surge in infections and a disruption in the heart of government, nearly all restrictions in England will be lifted on Monday as ministers put their faith in the advanced vaccine programme in the face of the virus.
Every day, more than 50,000 people are being asked to self-isolate for 10 days. This causes havoc for employers and parents, as well as causing train cancellations and business closures.
These rules will not fully apply to Johnson and Sunak, who instead will be permitted to work from their offices and will be subject to daily COVID-19 testing under a pilot program.
“They will participate in the daily contact pilot to allow them to continue to work from Downing Street,” Johnson’s Downing Street office said on Sunday.
During this period, they will only conduct essential government business.”
Johnson and Sunak need only self-isolate when they are not working.
It was hypocritical of Johnson and Sunak to be exempt from some of the rules, according to opposition politicians.
According to Labour Party health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth, there is indeed one rule for the top and another for the rest of us.
The handling of the pandemic by the government has been marred by episodes that have damaged public trust – most recently, when then-health minister Matt Hancock was pictured kissing an adviser, in violation of social distancing regulations. Later, he resigned.