Newham part of government pilot to help people self-isolate

A government coronavirus warning sign warns of the dangers of Covid.

People are being urged to stick to coronavirus rules to help avoid a third wave. - Credit: PA

Newham has been named one of nine areas in England where people will receive more help to self-isolate.

The government is launching nine pilot projects to test ways of helping people stick to self-isolation rules in areas with high infection rates and guard against new variants of the virus.

A council spokesperson said new money from the pilot will be used to support existing public health projects which the borough has been operating since December.

The fund will also be used to provide separate hotel accommodation to people unable to safely self-isolate at home.

Newham’s Covid-19 response team already offers regular welfare checks by phone, email and text for those who receive a positive test.

It is looking to expand into door-to-door visits. Initially, welfare calls were targeted at the over 60s but, with the help of the funding, the town hall is scaling this up to residents of all ages.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: "The British public have made tremendous sacrifices and played their part whenever they're asked.

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"Variants have the potential to be a Trojan horse for our hard-won progress and it is more vital than ever that we do what we can to show them the exit door.

"We recognise just how challenging self-isolation is for many people. These pilots will help us find the best ways to support people... making it easier for everyone to keep doing their bit."

The pilots are designed to encourage people most at risk of catching and transmitting Covid-19 to come forward for testing and to self-isolate successfully if they test positive.

The local authorities involved will pilot alternative accommodation and translation help for those who have to self-isolate.

Language support is to be provided for people whose first language isn't English.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: "We are doing everything we can to send this virus into retreat and stifle the spread of new variants. At the heart of this effort is our collaboration with local authorities.

"Covid-19 is a global disease, but it requires local solutions as well as national ones."

Cases of the Indian variant have been reported in Newham. The town hall is carrying out test and trace as well as offering help for those who need to self-isolate.

The council spokesperson said: "We are also working with Public Health England and other London authorities to prevent further spread of these and all cases."

Other areas to receive funding for the pilots include Yorkshire and Humber, Lancashire, Blackburn and Darwen, Blackpool, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Royal Borough of Kingston; Hackney, Peterborough, Fenland and South Holland, and Somerset.