Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

Michael Gove to bypass Covid self-isolation rules after Porto trip triggers app alert

Michael Gove: Jenrick quizzed by Stayt on his self isolation

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Michael Gove is set to bypass self-isolation rules after he was pinged with a Covid alert by the NHS app. Instead of the routine 10-day self-isolation period, Mr Gove will instead be tested every day for a week as part of a pilot scheme for workplaces. This means that Mr Gove will be allowed to attend work as normal and also do exercise but he will not be allowed to socialise with others.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was notified during a meeting at Downing Street that he had come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus in recent days.

This prompted Mr Gove to rush out of a meeting with Boris Johnson on Thursday afternoon after receiving the notification.

He had been due to meet the first ministers of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland with the Prime Minister as part of a Covid recovery summit. 

This alert was related to Mr Gove’s recent trip to Porto for the Champions League final in Portugal last week.

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The news sparked backlash online, with many criticising that it was “one rule for them”.

One user tweeted: “A pilot scheme that we don’t know about but would have been a useful scheme to explore before we got to the summer season.”

One football supporter on the same returning flight as Mr Gove told Sky News that he had also been contacted by the tracing app.

Unlike Mr Gove, this football fan was not included in the pilot scheme and instead was told to isolate until Sunday 6 June.

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Housing secretary Robert Jenrick appeared unaware that Mr Gove was involved in the new workplace pilot scheme.

He told BBC Breakfast this morning that Mr Gove was “self-isolating and testing regularly”.

Mr Gove and his 16-year-old son returned to the UK after attending the match between Chelsea and Manchester City at the weekend.

More than 12,000 football fans travelled to Porto for the match on Saturday.


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Supporters on several flights have since confirmed they have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace app.

Ministers are understood to be hoping to eventually extend the pilot scheme to the rest of the country.

A spokesman for Mr Gove last night said: “The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is participating in the daily contact testing programme after being advised to isolate today by NHS Test and Trace.

“He has followed COVID-19 regulations and guidance at all times and will continue to do so.”

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