A Government minister has suggested that isolating after being 'pinged' by the Track and Trace app is optional.

Business minister Paul Scully said it was up to employers and individuals to decide how to respond to a notification from the NHS Covid-19 app.

In response to mounting concern about the impact of the 'pingdemic' on businesses, the Government appeared to soften its line on self-isolation for those told to quarantine by the app.

The number of people being told to self-isolate by Test and Trace in Oxfordshire reached its highest level in six months.

Read also: Number of people told to self-isolate reaches new peak in Oxfordshire

Figures from the Department for Health and Social Care show 5,044 people who came into close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in Oxfordshire were transferred to Test and Trace in the week to July 7.

Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery, who chaired the ethics advisory board for NHSx on its contact tracing app, told Times Radio the Government needed to give clearer guidance to people about what to do when told to self-isolate.

Sir Jonathan said: “When we had no protection the risk was the same for everybody. If that risk is now reduced because someone is double-vaccinated it feels as though we need more sophisticated advice.

“If we are visiting an elderly relative or a cancer patient then take the ping seriously but if you are doing something relatively Covid-friendly then maybe make a different decision.”

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