Coronavirus: Matt Hancock self-isolating after NHS Covid-19 app alert

It is not the first time Matt Hancock has been forced into self-isolation. Credit: PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is self-isolating after being alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app.

The Cabinet minister revealed he was being forced to stay home until Sunday, after receiving an alert on Monday evening.

He said he would be working from home for the next six days.

In a video posted on Twitter, he said: "Last night I was pinged by the NHS coronavirus app, so that means I'll be self-isolating at home, not leaving the house at all until Sunday.

"This self-isolation is perhaps the most important part of all the social distancing because I know from the app I've been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive and this is how we break the chains of transmission.

"So you must follow these rules like I'm going to. I've got to work from home for the next six days, and together, by doing this, by following this, and all the other panoply of rules that we've had to put in place, we can get through this and beat this virus."

It is not the first time Mr Hancock has been forced into self-isolation - he spent a week at home in July after both he and Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for coronavirus.

The health secretary was able to leave isolation after seven days, following a bout of "mild" symptoms, but the PM was in a much worse state and was put in an intensive care unit before eventually recovering.

Mr Hancock did not make clear what time he received the order to self-isolate on Monday.

That evening he appeared at the No 10 press conference alongside NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis and Public Health England's Susan Hopkins.

On Saturday he was spotted in Queen's Park in North London, carrying a rugby ball, apparently covered in mud.

A witness told the Daily Mail: "I was there at about 3.30 this afternoon. Suddenly I saw Matt Hancock, he was there playing rugby with his son I think.

"He walked right up to me and I saw he was covered head to toe in mud."

Downing Street rejected suggestions he should receive a vaccine early because he is leading the response to the pandemic.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The PM and the rest of the Cabinet will take the vaccine when it's their turn to do so based on the priority lists that have been published.

"We don't think it's right that the PM or other members of Cabinet take the vaccine in place of somebody who is at higher clinical risk."

He said that Mr Hancock was following the rules and exercising when the Cabinet minister was seen in a park in London over the weekend.

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"We've been clear that everybody needs to follow the guidance and it remains the case that people are allowed outside to exercise which is what I believe Matt Hancock was doing," the spokesman said.

The standard period of self-isolation is set at 10 days, however the NHS Covid-19 app specifies what day a user's quarantine period should end.

If someone has coronavirus symptoms, such as a dry cough or loss of smell, you must self-isolate from the day your symptoms began.

Anyone with symptoms can get a coronavirus test for free - NHS advice on self-isolating can be found here.