Testing tsar Baroness Harding today revealed that she has been ordered to self-isolate by her own coronavirus contact tracing app.
The peer posted an image of the notification saying ‘you need to self-isolate’, saying she was ‘feeling well’ but remarking ruefully that she had ‘many hours Zoom ahead’.
Lady Harding’s husband, Tory MP John Penrose, has previously been told to self-isolate after potentially coming into contact with someone who was infected.
But the timings will spark speculation over whether there is a link to Boris Johnson’s quarantine.
The notification shows that Lady Harding should be freed from the restrictions at midnight on the morning of November 27, hours after the PM is due to be allowed to leave his Downing Street lockdown.
Mr Johnson went into isolation at his No11 flat after a mask-free meeting last Thursday with Tory MP Lee Anderson, who later tested positive. A series of other Tories are also in quarantine due to the gathering.
Lady Harding was pictured going into Downing Street on Friday morning. No10 sources played down a link, pointing out that Mr Johnson has so far tested negative.
She posted an image of the app ‘ping’ this morning, and wrote: ‘Nothing like personal experience of your own products …. got this overnight. Feeling well. Many hours of Zoom ahead.’
Baroness Harding, who heads the NHS Test and Trace service, is self-isolating after receiving an alert from her service
Baroness Harding was pictured going into Downing Street on Friday morning
Boris Johnson is isolating at his No11 flat after a mask-free meeting last Thursday with Tory MP Lee Anderson, who later tested positive
Mr Penrose was ordered to self-isolate by the app last week.
However, Lady Harding did not have to at that point as she had not received an alert.
Under the rules, she only had to quarantine with Mr Penrose if he developed symptoms.
Weston-super-Mare MP Mr Penrose said on Twitter last week: ‘It never rains but it pours…. my NHS app has just gone off, telling me to self-isolate, which I’m doing.
‘No symptoms so far *crosses fingers*’
Asked if he had spoken to his wife about it, he said: ‘We are trying to make sure we are doing it by the book, if I can put it that way.
‘Her NHS app has not gone off, so it’s someone I have been in contact with rather than her.’
In response to a suggestion that it showed the system worked, Mr Penrose said: ‘I suppose it does.’
John Penrose, the MP husband of Test and Trace chief Baroness Harding (pictured together), was recently told to self-isolate by the coronavirus app
Data released last week revealed that the NHS Test and Trace system is continuing to struggle to reach much more than 60 per cent of the close contacts of people who test positive for coronavirus.
Government figures published on Thursday showed 60.4 per cent of close contacts in England were reached through Test and Trace in the week ending November 4.
It was the fourth week in a row the figure has been around 60 per cent, having dropped from 77.2 per cent during the week ending September 16.
The data came after Lady Harding said testing and trace on its own is not a “silver bullet” to hold back the spread of coronavirus.
She told a committee of MPs on November 10 that the evidence in the UK and across Europe was that it was just one of a range of interventions needed to tackle the virus.