As of Monday 16 August, the government has removed the requirement to self-isolate for fully vaccinated adults or under-18s in England, if NHS notified of contact with a positive COVID-19 case. The change should greatly reduce the number of workers and others in isolation as a result of NHS Test and Trace ‘pinging’, although notified individuals are being advised by the government to undergo a free PCR test.
According to Andrew Eldred, ECA Director of Employment and Skills: “The latest change will be a huge relief to employers, many of whom have seen their workforce decimated as a result of self isolation following an NHS ping. However, these changes do not signal the end of the pandemic, and we still need to wait for further reductions in R rates and other national and regional indicators before we can think about lowering our guard. We are encouraging employers to stay registered with NHS Test and Trace and to support employee testing”.
Double-vaccinated adults no longer need to self-isolate as long as they received their second UK approved vaccination at least 14 days prior to a notified contact with a positive case. Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test is still legally required to self-isolate, and anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, get a PCR test and remain in isolation until the result comes back.
ECA Director of CSR Paul Reeve says that following the current government guidelines and construction Site Operating Procedures is still the best way forward for employers, helping to prevent transmission of potentially harmful COVID variants and helping to ensure the continued wellbeing and productivity of the workforce.
“We are advising employers to continue with COVID-safe work practices wherever possible not just to protect themselves, work colleagues and customers, but also families and friends. We can also help to protect the NHS which is still under huge pressure,” says Reeve.
Reeve adds “Ensuring effective ventilation, wearing clean, effective face coverings in busy or confined places including public transport, and effective hygiene and sanitisation will help us to move towards the end game for the pandemic, but we must all stay vigilant.”
The CLC’s Site Operating Procedures provide voluntary guidance on onsite construction COVID measures.