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£12m for pilot self-isolate schemes

Initiatives aim to rapidly target local outbreaks.
27 May 2021 , Katie Coyne

Schemes to support people infected with COVID-19 to self-isolate are being piloted in nine areas in England.

Funding of £12m is being made available by central government for the initiatives, which are being run in areas badly hit by the virus.

Schemes being tested include alternative accommodation, additional social care support for vulnerable adults, a buddying service for people suffering mental health issues due to the lockdowns, and translation support.

Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the new UK Health Security Agency, said that while COVID-19 is a global disease, it required “local solutions as well as national ones”.

Harries added that by working with councils the government has been able to reach more positive cases “than ever before”, many of whom were “people who could otherwise have unknowingly spread the virus to their loved ones”.

Cllr James Jamieson, chair of the Local Government Association, said: "Rapidly targeting local outbreaks and supporting people to self-isolate when required is absolutely crucial to our continuing fight against coronavirus.”

Jamieson said the pilots would provide further insight into what works and added: "All councils continue to use their unique local knowledge and connections to reach out to areas where they are most needed, working with government in our joint national effort to stop the spread and keep case rates as low as possible as we look towards a return to our normal way of life.”

Pilot areas include: Newham; Yorkshire and Humber; Lancashire, Blackburn & Darwen, Blackpool; Greater Manchester; Cheshire and Merseyside; Royal Borough of Kingston; Hackney; Peterborough, Fenland and South Holland; and Somerset.

When announcing the news health secretary Matt Hancock said the government recognised how challenging self-isolating could be, and wanted to support people. He described new variants as having the potential to be a “Trojan horse” and that it was “more vital than ever” that people follow the rules and self-isolate.

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