Gove AVOIDS Champions League Covid quarantine by joining testing pilot

Michael Gove AVOIDS quarantine after trip to Porto for the Champions League final triggers a Covid alert because No10 is taking part in a pilot scheme that offers daily Covid tests INSTEAD

  • Michael Gove was notified through NHS Track and Trace that he had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus in recent days
  • It is believed it may have happened when he and his son flew back to the UK
  • The pair had been attending the Champions League final in Portugal
  • Gove will be tested every day for a week instead of self-isolating for 10 days

Michael Gove has avoided having to quarantine after coming into contact with a Covid case at the Champions League final, it emerged today.

The senior cabinet minister was alerted by the NHS coronavirus app after attending the game in Portugal with his Chelsea-supporting son.

But under a little-known pilot scheme for workplaces launched last month Mr Gove will be tested every day for a week rather than having to isolate at home for 10 days.

No10 is taking part in a study led by Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace that examines whether daily testing can ‘be used as an alternative to self-isolation’.

Such a move, if deployed across the UK, would avoid a loss of productivity when people are forced to self-isolate. It would also help solve the problem of people refusing to isolate over fears of losing money or their job. 

Participants who have a lateral flow test each morning are allowed to attend their workplace as normal and do exercise, but are not allowed to socialise with others.

Ministers are hoping to eventually extend the scheme to the whole of the country.  

Michael Gove (pictured) had to abandon a No 10 meeting with Boris Johnson and devolved leaders yesterday when he was alerted by the NHS coronavirus app after attending the Champions League final in Portugal with his son [File photo]

How does the pilot scheme work?

Daily lateral flow tests are being given to as many as 40,000 people in England who have a positive Covid-19 contact.

Instead of the 10 days of quarantine currently required, the participants will be sent a week’s worth of tests and will be able to go about their lives as before, as long as the results are negative. 

The scheme started on May 9, with those who have been in close contacts of people with Covid-19 contacted by phone and sent seven days of rapid tests if they wish to participate in the study.

They will have to test themselves every morning for seven days.

To be eligible people have to be free from Covid-19 symptoms, live in England, be aged 18 or over and be outside of full-time education and not subject to quarantine rules for arriving in England from abroad.

However, people will not be able to take part if they have been informed that they have been in contact with someone who’s tested positive with a variant of concern or variant under investigation.

At the launch of the scheme PHE’s Professor Isabel Oliver, the study leader, said: ‘We know that isolating when you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is challenging but it remains vitally important to stop the spread of infection. This study will help to determine whether we can deploy daily testing for contacts to potentially reduce the need for self-isolation, while still ensuring that chains of transmission are stopped.’

Mr Gove had to abandon a No 10 meeting with Boris Johnson and devolved leaders yesterday when he was alerted by the NHS coronavirus app after attending the Champions League final in Portugal with his son.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was notified that he had come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus in recent days.

It is believed it may have happened when he and his Chelsea-supporting son, 16, flew back to the UK after attending the match between the London side and Manchester City at the weekend.

More than 12,000 football fans travelled to Porto for the match on Saturday and supporters on several flights said they had since been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace app. 

Mr Gove was in the middle of a meeting with the Prime Minister, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, other ministers and the leaders of the devolved administrations when he received the notification. 

Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon, Wales’s Mark Drakeford and Northern Ireland’s Arlene Foster were taking part remotely.

A spokesman for Mr Gove last night said: ‘The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is participating in the daily contact testing programme after being advised to isolate today by NHS Test and Trace.

‘He has followed COVID-19 regulations and guidance at all times and will continue to do so.’ 

Yesterday, it was claimed that up to five flights occupied by Manchester City fans returning from the match against Chelsea had been affected. 

Although it remains unclear if the exposures took place on the return flights, several travellers highlighted the journeys as the likely point of contact.

The Track and Trace, which does not work abroad, uses Bluetooth technology to detect whether somebody has been in close contact with a coronavirus carrier.

Dom Farrell, a sports journalist for Stats Perform, travelled to Porto for work and received a notification from NHS Test and Trace four days after flying home.

He said a colleague on the same flight had received the same notification.

Mr Farrell questioned why the game took place abroad considering that two English clubs were competing against each other, forcing fans to travel.



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The Track and Trace, which does not work abroad, uses Bluetooth technology to detect whether somebody has been in close contact with a coronavirus carrier [Stock image]

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