Great Britain

Workers told to isolate with Covid symptoms could be given cash lump sum

CARROT AND STICK

WORKERS told to isolate will be given a cash lump sum in a new “carrot and stick” approach to halt Covid-19 spread.

Just one in five people is following the stay-at-home rules after coming down with symptoms, according to Government research.

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And the data shows that Brits earning below £20,000 are three times less likely to remain in quarantine for the full 14 days.

Now workers ordered to self-isolate will be in line for a one-off payment of “hundreds of pounds” to persuade them they must stay indoors.

Officials hope the means-tested handouts — ensuring taxpayers’ money is not wasted on richer people — will encourage more people to follow the rules and reduce infection rates.

The scheme follows a trial in the North West where residents in Bolton on low incomes could claim £13 per day if forced to go into quarantine.

Ministers are also looking at plans to fine people if they refuse to stay at home.

Until now, the rules have been voluntary and relied on goodwill.

A Government source said: “The carrot and stick approach is about getting more people to follow the rules and stopping this virus from spreading.”

Nearly 62,000 people were told to self-isolate by contact tracers in the first week of September, which was almost double the figure of the previous seven days.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) now warns of “evidence of low adherence to self-isolation”.

Experts said testing alone will not reduce infections if high-risk Brits refused to quarantine.

The cash on offer will be significantly more than the maximum £182 that was made available in the pilot scheme.

The Government source added: “Plans are being finalised to offer people who are asked to stay at home cash to boost adherence.

“We are working out what the overall balance should be so that we can determine exactly how much the payments should work out at.”

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