PM's claim about being pinged was based on data BEFORE vaccine

PM's claim about being pinged was based on data BEFORE vaccine
PM's claim about being pinged was based on data BEFORE vaccine

Boris Johnson was accused yesterday of misleading the nation by claiming people who are told to self-isolate are five times more likely to be infected.

He made the assertion in a press conference on Monday, saying it was ‘essential’ to maintain home quarantine for ten days.

But the Public Health England research he cited was six months old and carried out before the vast majority of the public had been vaccinated against Covid.

It also involved only those who had been alerted by NHS Test and Trace as close contacts of positive cases.

The Prime Minister implied it covered the NHS Covid app, which had not been rolled out at the time. The app tends to be less reliable at identifying close contacts than Test and Trace and can ‘ping’ people through walls.

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Boris Johnson was accused yesterday of misleading the nation by claiming people who are told to self-isolate are five times more likely to be infected in a press conference on Monday

Boris Johnson was accused yesterday of misleading the nation by claiming people who are told to self-isolate are five times more likely to be infected in a press conference on Monday

The research by Public Health England was carried out in December and January when the vaccination programme had only just started.

Now, nearly 90 per cent have had one dose and almost 70 per cent two doses and their chances of becoming infected are massively diminished.

Matthew Lesh, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, said: ‘Boris Johnson’s claim that people are five times more likely to be infected with the virus after being asked to isolate is deeply misleading.

‘Rather than Boris making things up, NHS Test and Trace should be releasing weekly statistics on how many people who are asked to self-isolate from Test and Trace and the app subsequently return a positive test.’

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the benefits of isolating after being pinged were ‘minimal’.

Speaking to BBC’s Newsnight he added: ‘It does have some value in reducing transmission, but that is based on modelling work that was primarily done last year when almost none of us had had the vaccine.

Blue bars show the number of 'pings' sent by the NHS app each week; red bars show the number of people contacted by Test and Trace call handlers; and yellow bars show the number of people who tested positive for Covid

Blue bars show the number of 'pings' sent by the NHS app each week; red bars show the number of people contacted by Test and Trace call handlers; and yellow bars show the number of people who tested positive for Covid

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