Police will have access to test and trace data of people told to self-isolate

People told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate could give their contact details to police.

The Department of Health and Welfare (DHCS) said that police forces will have access to information "on a case-by-case basis" so they can know if a person has been asked to self-isolate.

The DHSC updated its online guide on how to handle coronavirus test data on Friday.

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<figcaption>People in England are required by law to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19 (Simon Dawson / PA).</figcaption></figure>
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<p>People who fail to self-isolate "without adequate justification" could give their name, address and contact details to their local authority and then to the police, according to the DHSC website.</p>
<p>"This can lead to enforcement actions being taken against you, which may include a fine," the online guide reads.</p>
<p>"A police force can request information about positive Covid-19 tests directly from the NHS Test and Trace program, where they will examine a report from someone who may not be complying with the mandatory self-isolation period."</p>
<p>The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported that England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, feared the move would deter people from being tested.</p>
<p>People in England are legally required to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19.</p>
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It is more important than ever that we all follow the guidelines that are intended to serve as containment # COVID-19.

Remember: ▶ ️ wash your hands regularly ▶ ️ make room ▶ ️ wear face covering ▶ ️ isolate yourself and get tested if you have symptoms

The information: https://t.co/VdU3Lzcrhl#HandsFaceSpace

– Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (@DHSCgovuk) 17th October 2020

Those who fail to do so will face fines from £ 1,000 and up to £ 10,000 for repeat offenders or serious violations, the DHSC said.

Individuals who test positive must isolate for 10 days after showing symptoms or their test date if they have no symptoms, while members of their household must isolate for 14 days.

A DHSC spokesman said: "It is a legal requirement that people who test positive for Covid-19 and their close contacts, self-isolate when officially asked to do so.

“The Department of Health and Welfare has agreed a memorandum of understanding with the National Police Chiefs Council so that police forces can access information on a case-by-case basis to determine if a particular person has been notified.

“The Memorandum of Understanding ensures that information is exchanged with appropriate safeguards and in accordance with the law. No test or health data is shared in this process. "

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<figcaption>Staff collect samples while driving through the testing center in Leicester (Joe Giddens / PA).</figcaption></figure>
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<p>The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents doctors in the UK, said the test and trace system needed "the full public trust" to be effective.</p>
<p>A BMA spokesman said: “We are already concerned that some people will be discouraged from being tested for fear of loss of income if they have to self-isolate – and we are concerned if police involvement helps.</p>
<p>"So the government's focus should be on helping people – financially and otherwise – when they need to self-isolate so no one is stopped from coming for a test."</p>
<p>A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council said: "Police work continues to help limit the spread of coronavirus.</p>
<p>“We will continue to promote voluntary compliance, but enforce regulations and issue FPNs (fixed criminal charges) if necessary. When people fail to self-isolate and refuse to comply, officials can issue FPNs and instruct people to return to self-isolation.</p>
<p>"The officers will contact individuals to determine their circumstances, and they will do so at their own discretion, wherever reasonable."</p>
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