Boris Johnson has apologised to businesses hit by the rising number of workers having to self-isolate after being “pinged” by the NHS Covid-19 app.
Speaking at the last PMQs before the summer recess, the Prime Minister said “everybody understands the inconvenience of being pinged”.
Mr Johnson was appearing virtually after coming into contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who has tested positive for the virus.
He said: “I think that everybody understands the inconvenience of being pinged, as he rightly says here I am, I wish I was with you in the Commons chamber today.
“I apologise to everybody in business up and down the land in all kinds of services, public sector or otherwise who are experiencing inconvenience.
“We will be switching, as the House knows, to a system based on contact testing rather than contact isolation, but until then I just must remind everybody that isolation is a vital tool of our defence against the disease.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer raised the question of self-isolation, asking during Prime Minister’s Questions, asking the Prime Minister: “If somebody’s pinged by the NHS app, as millions will be over coming weeks, should they isolate yes or no?”
He added: “Can I wish the Prime Minister, the Chequers one, well in his isolation. With half a million people self-isolating, I think we were all a bit surprised that the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Cabinet Office minister were all randomly chosen for a get-out-of-isolation-free card.
“But it’s good that the Prime Minister finally recused himself, even if it took a public outcry, for the Communities Secretary to be humiliated on live TV and a trip to a country estate.”
Mr Johnson said he believes spring next year is the best time for a full public inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic to begin.
He also told the Commons he is “confident” that by spring 2022 the UK will be in a “much, much better position” with the virus.