Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the UK, has been criticized for his proposal to pay £500 to everyone testing positive for COVID-19, Daily Mail reported.
Sources close to the Prime Minister’s office told the newspaper that there was no plan to proceed with the suggestion, which has been met with skepticism overall. Officials fear that plan could incentivize people to contract the virus to receive the payment.
Hancock hopes that this proposal, which would cost the government £450 million a week, will encourage people to take the test and self isolate to stop the spread of the virus. However, UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected the plan, according to a BBC report.
Photo: courtesy of Daily Mail
Independent News UK reported that the proposal came from a leaked document from Matt Hancok’s department of health, and it revealed that the policy was being looked at.
Officials fear that people are not taking the test due to the fear of not being able to work if tested positive. Treasure officials have stated that the positive test cases in exchange for money was “not going to happen” and that they had “zero idea” how Hancock allowed it to get traction.
“Just bonkers,”one official said, “The whole country will suddenly develop a dry cough.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice, though, refused to rule out the plan entirely, saying ministers were looking at reasons why people were avoid self-isolating. The £500 payment would apply irrespective of age, employment or ability to work from home.
According to the BBC report, a £500 payment was already available for those on low incomes and those who could not work from home and had to isolate.
According to The Guardian, all 317 local authorities in England will offer mass testing. Currently, 131 have signed up, with 107 already testing people. CIPD, an association of HR professionals, had told The Guardian previously that when people on low income self-isolate, they find it difficult to access the NHS Test and Trace support payment scheme.
Currently, if Hancock’s proposal is approved, only people with low income will be eligible.
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