TechUK urges government to tweak self-isolation policy for critical datacentre workers

by Jeremy

TechUK wants the government to consider letting datacentre operators run their own “test and release” system so that staff who are told to self-isolate by the NHS Track and Trace service can return to work faster if they test negative for Covid-19.  The proposal is borne out of concerns raised by the tech trade body and its members that the government’s current self-isolation policy for critical workers, which covers digital infrastructure and datacentre personnel, is too inflexible and

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demanding. In a positioning statement, TechUK described the approach as “impractical” and said it “threatens to undermine” the resiliency of the UK’s digital infrastructure by exacerbating the coronavirus-related staffing shortages many datacentre operators are already dealing with. Government has identified critical sectors eligible for a limited exemption from the obligation to self-isolate, enabling designated organizations to allow fully vaccinated staff back into the workplace following a negative test. However, a very high bar has been set for

both the eligibility criteria and the process,” said TechUK. Digital infrastructure is among those eligible, and this listing does not confer pre-exemption. Concessions are granted on a case-by-case basis, with formal government approval required for every single individual before return to work.” Under the terms of the critical worker’s self-isolation policy, published by the Department of Health and Social Care on 23 July 2021, a limited number of named individuals can return to work before their 10-day self-isolation period is up if they are double vaccinated and have secured written permission from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) to do so.

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