Sajid Javid’s positive Covid-19 test could set “pings” ringing through Westminster on ‘Freedom Day’.
The Health Secretary revealed he had tested positive with a rapid lateral flow test today, after feeling “groggy” last night.
He’s awaiting the results of a more accurate PCR test – which would mean Test and Trace would inform those he has been in contact with would have to self-isolate.
They could include the Prime Minister, with whom it’s understood Mr Javid met yesterday.
Mr Javid also appeared in the House of Commons on Wednesday – which depending on when he’s thought to have caught the virus, and whether he has the NHS Test and Trace app running, could mean a raft of MPs getting “pings” advising them to stay at home.
It comes amid a “pingdemic” in Westminster, with a number of MPs and journalists reporting that they’d been notified by Test and Trace – and events cancelled due to a “small outbreak” of cases.
And Mr Javid visited a London care home on Wednesday, where he said: “I’m not just the Health Secretary – I’m the Social Care Secretary too and I’m determined to do all I can for staff, residents and families across the country.”
Most Covid rules are set to be torn up from Monday, as Boris Johnson presses ahead with an unlocking he has said will be permanent and irreversible.
But self isolation rules will remain in place – even for people who, like Mr Javid, have had both doses of vaccine – until August 19.
Mr Johnson has already been forced into self-isolation once since suffering from the virus himself. In November he met with Tory MP Lee Anderson, who later tested positive for the virus.
Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock was pinged in January, forcing him to stay at home for 10 days.
And Michael Gove got a notification after attending the Champions League final in Portugal.
But the Cabinet Office minister avoided self-isolation by taking advantage of a pilot scheme, allowing people to return to work if they take daily lateral flow tests.
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The scheme – which is only open to people who are contacted directly by Test and Trace, not people “pinged” through the app – is reportedly becoming widely used in Whitehall departments, including Number 10.