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Covid-19: Ministers to consider 500 Covid payment to boost self-isolation rates

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in England could be paid 500 to self-isolate under proposals to be discussed by ministers.

It is among the suggestions listed in a leaked document from the Department of Health (DoH) to encourage people with symptoms to get tested and stay home.

There are fears the current financial support is not working because low paid workers cannot afford to self-isolate.

The BBC has confirmed the government is looking at overhauling the system.

Introducing a universal 500 payment could cost up to 453m per week - 12 times the cost of the current payouts.

BBC Newsnight's Katie Razzall says ministers are aware self-isolation is crucial for stopping the spread of coronavirus and the "options paper" has been drawn up by civil servants at the DoH.

She said it will be discussed soon by the Covid operations committee chaired by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove - adding the move suggests there is an admission in government that too many people are not staying at home and a decision needs to be made quickly.

According to the Guardian, the need to look at the current system has been prompted by government polling indicating that only 17% of people with symptoms get tested, just one-in-four comply with rules to self-isolate for 10 days after finding they are positive, and 15% continue to go to work.

It became a legal requirement last September for anyone in England testing positive for coronavirus to self-isolate.

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