New rules have been set out for those working in health and social care.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has told health and social care staff that they are not exempt from the self-isolation rules.
Speaking live during today’s daily Downing Street briefing, Matt Hancock told health and social care workers that “if one of your team tests positive you have to test the isolation advice.”
The current guidance from Public Health England (PHE) means that any health or social care worker who has been in close proximity to a colleague who tests positive would need to self-isolate at home for 14 days, even if asymptomatic.
Mr. Hancock admitted that while the new measures may cause “logistical challenges”, insisted they were nessasary.
This advice comes alongside new rules forcing staff to wear face masks “at all times” due to an increased risk of health and social care staff catching the virus.
Hospital visitors and outpatients will also be required to wear face coverings.
Staff are more likely to catch Coronavirus.
Mr. Hancock said; “As the NHS reopens right across the country, it’s critically important to stop the spread amongst staff, patients, and visitors. Today, we are setting out that all hospital visitors and outpatients will need to wear face-coverings.
“Those in hospital, those that are working in hospital are more likely to catch Coronavirus whether they work in a clinical setting or not.
“To offer even greater protection we are also providing new guidance for NHS staff in England which will come into force on the 15th of June and all hospital staff will be required to wear type 1 or type 2 surgical masks. This will cover all staff working in hospitals, apply at all times – not just when they are doing lifesaving work on the frontline.”
Mr. Hancock adds; “if one of your team tests positive you have to follow the isolation advice.”
“The natural impulse of anybody in care or in the NHS is that the thing you can do best is be there to help – to be there for the patient. But if you have the virus, or are at risk of having the virus. The best thing that you can do for them, as well as yourself, is to isolate at home.
“This means that social distancing in the workplace must be reiterated and it matters just as much as anywhere else. I know that social distancing and self-isolation can cause big logistical challenges and we will support you in doing what is right and necessary.
Three months of crisis.
Anthony John, the Lead Campaigner for grassroots group Nurses United UK, responded; “NHS and Social Care staff have been pleading for equipment and Matt Hancock wouldn’t listen or stockpile to save our lives.
“Now, when we’ve been in 3 months of this crisis, he decides to listen? We’re not here to be gaslighted by this Government.
“There should be a public inquiry to give justice to the families of those who have lost loved ones.
Today’s daily briefing also saw Mr. Hancock accused of “cherry-picking” figures to suggest the rate of spread is lower than it actually is.