Supermarket workers could be able to dodge NHS track and trace isolation as No 10 tells bosses to apply for exemption

SUPERMARKET staff could be allowed to dodge isolation when pinged if deemed critical workers by the Government.

Downing Street is inviting bosses in key sectors to apply for the exemption – and didn't rule out applications from the likes of Tesco and Asda.

Boris Johnson last night announced that certain essential workers who have been double jabbed would be able to swap 10 days isolation with a PCR test.

No exact list of industries will be published but will be strictly limited to crucial areas like food, transport, medicine, border force and power.

Instead the Government will filter applications on "a case by case basis".

The PM's official spokesperson said today: "There won't be a list covering individual sectors… it's important that anyone who feels they're in a critical industry or wants to raise potential issues because of isolation are able to contact departments and get advice and where necessary get exemptions."

Pressed on shop staff he said: "We're not seeking to draw lines specifically around who or who is not exempt.

"What's important is to make sure critical services are able to function and get that balance right between requiring people to isolate… but also making sure critical services can function."

Mr Johnson yesterday warned the number of selected critical workers – which already includes all NHS staff – will be low.

Those not exempt will have to wait until August 16 before mandatory isolation is dropped for the fully vaccinated.

The PM's spokesman did not know how long it would take for the first key workers to gain exemption.

Bosses are grappling with staff shortages as Britain is gripped by the pingdemic.

Last week more than half a million people were pinged into isolation by the NHS Covid app.

Business Minister Paul Scully was this morning slapped down by No10 for telling firms it was up to them and their employees if they decided to isolate once pinged.

Downing Street scolded: "It is crucial people isolate when they are told to do so, either by NHS Test and Trace or by the NHS covid app."

Tory MP Mark Harper, leader of the Covid Recovery Group, said: "There is a clear reduction in risk for those vaccinated.

"The change in self-isolation rules reflecting that needs to be brought forward [from August 16]. Now."

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