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Yesterday Downing Street performed one of the fastest U-turns on record when it said Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, would be isolating because they had been in contact with Sajid Javid, the health secretary who has coronavirus, only about two and a half hours after No 10 issued a statement saying they would not have to isolate because they were taking part in a pilot scheme to use daily testing as an alternative.
The U-turn means that Johnson is now isolating at Chequers instead of at No 10. Doubtless having to spend the week in a large mansion in beautiful countryside, instead of in a crowded terraced house in hot, stuffy London, will prove some consolation.
From today (Monday 19 July), double vaccinated frontline NHS and social care staff in England who have been told to self-isolate will be permitted to attend work in exceptional circumstances and replaced by testing mitigations.
This will include staff who have been contacted as a close contact of a case of Covid-19 by NHS Test and Trace, or advised to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app.
Our NHS and ambulance service are operating under extreme pressure, with chronic staff shortages, fatigue and exhaustion.
Yet today – the government’s so called freedom day – they have had to issue exemptions for staff as services struggle to cope with rising cases.
Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccine deployment minister, is making a statement to MPs this afternoon about vaccine policy for children. But, as my colleague Peter Walker reports, in morning interviews Zahawi seemed to disclose what will be the main announcement when he said that only clinically vulnerable children, those living with vulnerable adults and those approaching their 18th birthday should be vaccinated.
Related: Vulnerable UK children to be offered Covid jabs first, minister says