When the Tories ended restrictions, one in 25 teachers and carers were self-isolating

A coronavirus test

Around one in 25 people in the UK working in social care, teaching, and education were likely to have been self-isolating because of coronavirus (Covid-19) at the end of January, new figures show. At the same time, the government moved England from the more stringent Plan B restrictions to the less stringent Plan A.

England

Some 4.0% of social care workers were self-isolating on 29 January, up from 2.3% two weeks earlier. Meanwhile 3.9% of teaching and education staff were also self-isolating, up from 2.0%. These were the highest estimates of self-isolation among all parts of the workforce. And for the teaching sector, they climbed above the level seen at the peak of the Omicron wave in early January, which was 3.5%.

Around the same time – on 27 January – the government moved England back to Plan A restrictions. It said at the time:

because of the success of the booster roll-out, all measures under Plan B have been lifted.

At the end of January, deaths were still considerably higher than when the UK went into Plan B on 8 December. Cases, albeit significantly down, were still higher than 8 December.

The latest figures on self-isolation, which have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are the first of their kind to estimate the proportion of people self-isolating in different types of employment.

Read on...

Along with teaching and social care, levels of self-isolation rose among health care workers, up from 2.1% on 15 January to 3.6% by 29 January. There were signs of increases across all other work sectors, but these trends “remain uncertain”, the ONS said.

The retail sector had the lowest estimated percentage of the workforce in self-isolation, at 2.2%, up from 1.5%.

The figures also show that by 29 January, 2.7% – around one in 37 – of the entire working-age population in England were likely to be in self-isolation. Whereas at the peak of the Omicron wave on 3 January, nearly one in 20 – 4.7% – were in self-isolation.

The devolved nations

There’s a similar pattern in the other three nations. Although self-isolation levels vary considerably, and there’s “high uncertainty” about the trend in the most recent two weeks, the ONS said.

  • In Scotland, the proportion of people of working age who were self-isolating peaked at 6.4% on 2 January, or around one in 16, the highest level experienced by any nation so far in the recent wave of infections. By 21 January, this had fallen to 1.8%, but then started to rise at the end of month, reaching 2.4% by 29 January.
  • Wales saw a peak of 4.2% of the working-age population in self-isolation on 1 January, dropping to 1.7% by 17 January, then increasing to 2.7% by 29 January.
  • In Northern Ireland levels peaked at 4.0% on 2 January, fell to 2.3% by 16 January, and stood at 2.7% on 29 January.

All estimates are based on data collected as part of the ONS weekly Covid-19 infection survey, and are based on individuals in private households.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us