JULIE ELLIOTT: The choice between isolating and feeding a worker’s family

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced the Governments’ strategy for “living with Covid”.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 12:00 am
Self-isolation support payments gave workers the security they needed to isolate when they had Covid-19.
Self-isolation support payments gave workers the security they needed to isolate when they had Covid-19.

From Thursday, February 24, it is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19, and there will no longer be free testing available for the general public from April.

The Government may have decided that the pandemic is over - but the evidence does not support this.

This is a virus that has killed over 180,000 people in the UK over the last two years, with thousands still getting infected every day. This Tory Government is no longer taking it seriously.

The people of this country have made huge sacrifices over the past two years, including care workers and NHS staff in Sunderland who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic for our community.

We must honour their hard work by ensuring we do everything we can to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

The end to self-isolation does not give freedoms to everyone; life for the extremely clinically vulnerable will be hugely impacted.

Immuno-compromised people do not have the same level of protection from vaccines as others. They rely on people testing positive to isolate. If the general population is unable to access free tests, vulnerable people will be more at risk. They and their loved ones are scared.

It is the role of society to protect its most vulnerable. But this Tory Government does not seem to care.

This is at the same time as a Tory-led cost-of-living crisis. Many people are struggling to make ends meet and will simply not be able to afford the added expense of testing kits.

The decisions made by this Tory Government consistently create further inequality.

The Government also announced on Monday their decision to remove self-isolation support payments.

These payments gave workers the security they needed in order to be able to isolate when they had Covid-19.

Many workers will now have to choose between isolating and feeding their families.

Once again, it is the most financially precarious who will be affected the most by the decisions of this Tory Government.

Covid testing and the requirement to self-isolate have been vital tools used by the public to contain the virus. It is too soon to let them go.

We must continue to take Covid seriously to protect vulnerable people and to protect our NHS.