UK Covid live: £500 payment to anyone testing positive being considered, says minister

Good morning everyone. I’ll be leading the blog today. Feel free to drop me a message on Twitter with any coverage suggestions.

Ministers have been responding to the reports first revealed in the Guardian of ministers considering paying £500 to everyone in England who tests positive for Covid-19.

George Eustice, the environment secretary, told BBC Breakfast:

We have always kept this under review and we know that it is sometimes quite challenging to ask people to isolate for that length of time. At the moment we are in a full lockdown anyway so while people can leave to work, in many cases people will be staying home anyway.We constantly keep this under review. We have got to consider all sorts of policies.

The proposed change, said to be the “preferred position” of the Department of Health and Social Care, is understood to be necessary because government polling indicated that just 17% of people with coronavirus symptoms were coming forward to get a test. But the idea has reportedly not been considered by the prime minister, so no official confirmation of it by Downing Street as of yet.

In another interview this morning, Eustice played down the prospect of a full-blown travel ban being introduced to halt the spread of coronavirus across the UK.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

The judgement was for now is that the right thing to do was to require pre-travel testing and quarantine for everyone on arrival, and then for them to be able to exit earlier if they do second test at five day interval.

This could help prevent other variants being imported from abroad, which ministers are desperate to avoid as there are concerns it will pose “challenges to the efficacy of the vaccine.”

Here is the agenda for the day:

09:30: Weekly Covid-19 social impacts survey, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

12:00: Weekly UK Covid-19 infection survey, from the ONS.

12:15: Welsh Government coronavirus press conference. First Minister Mark Drakeford will provide an update on the coronavirus situation in Wales.

17:00: Boris Johnson to give Downing Street press conference.

14:00: West Midlands Combined Authority coronavirus update webinar. The Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, will host a weekly webinar featuring updates from health officials, and council and policing representatives.

To keep up-to-date with Covid coverage from around the world, keep an eye on our global coronavirus live blog:


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