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Almost half of Britons would shun self-isolation rules if they had a negative test after being ‘pinged’ for coming into contact with someone with coronavirus, a survey has found. 

New data suggests a large proportion of people are unwilling to stick to the 10-day legal self-isolation period that the government imposes on anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

It came as England lifted almost all Covid-related restrictions on ‘Freedom Day’, while coronavirus cases in the UK rose to the same level seen in mid-January, surpassing 50,000 new positive tests a day.

There are now worries of a ‘pingdemic’ hitting the country, with half a million people being asked to self-isolate in just one week – including the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.

Almost half of Britons would shun self-isolation rules if they had a negative test after being 'pinged' for coming into contact with someone with coronavirus, a survey has found

Almost half of Britons would shun self-isolation rules if they had a negative test after being 'pinged' for coming into contact with someone with coronavirus, a survey has found

Almost half of Britons would shun self-isolation rules if they had a negative test after being ‘pinged’ for coming into contact with someone with coronavirus, a survey has found

Boris Johnson was among those forced to self isolate after he was pinged for coming into contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who recently tested positive for coronavirus. He appeared remotely for a Downing Street press conference from his Chequers retreat

It has raised questions of whether compliance with the rule will remain high when so many other rules have been dropped.

A survey by YouGov found around two thirds of the public say they would be likely to self-isolate if they weren’t showing symptoms but were notified of coming into contact with coronavirus by someone they know (63 per cent) or the NHS app (67 per cent of users).

But despite many people contracting COVID-19 not experiencing any symptoms, as many as 26 to 30 per cent say they would be unlikely to self-isolate if they didn’t feel ill. 

However, 49 per cent of Britons said they would be unlikely to self-isolate if they tested negative with a rapid test after being told by some they were with recently has tested positive for Covid.

And 42 per cent of NHS app users said they were unlikely to self-isolate if they received a negative result on a rapid test after being told to isolate for 10 days by the app.

It is currently a legal requirement to self-isolate for at least 10 days if coming into close contact with someone who has coronavirus, but only if contacted by a member of Test and Trace rather than just being ‘pinged’.

Adam Wagner, a barrister with Doughty Street Chambers, explains: ‘The legal duty to self isolate is triggered if you are contacted by test and trace and told to isolate.

‘When the legal duty is triggered you can be fined £1000 and upwards for not following the rules.

‘You can be notified in any way by test and trace, except by the NHS Covid app. If you are notified by a notification from the Covid app, there is no legal duty to self isolate, it is guidance only.’

But despite the risk of getting fined, half of Britons (49 per cent) say they would be unlikely to stay home if they subsequently tested negative for the disease.

Four in ten (42 per cent) expect that they would. If notified by the NHS, Britons who use the track and trace app would be more likely to isolate even if a negative rapid test confirms they don’t have the disease.

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