New schemes designed to offer enhanced support for people who are self-isolating will be trialled in Greater Manchester, the government has confirmed.
£12 million worth of funding has been set aside to provide extra services as part of a pilot across several areas in England.
People isolating in overcrowded houses will be offered alternative accommodation, with “buddying” services made available for anyone requiring mental health support.
Translation services will also be provided for non-English speakers, and increased social care will be made available to vulnerable adults.
All ten boroughs of Greater Manchester will receive access to the new services along with several other regions in England including:
- Newham and Hackney in London
- Yorkshire and Humber
- Lancashire, Blackburn & Darwen, Blackpool
- Cheshire and Merseyside
- Royal Borough of Kingston
- Peterborough, Fenland and South Holland
The aim of the pilot is to encourage more people to take tests and self-isolate when required.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated: “Variants have the potential to be a Trojan horse for our hard won progress and it is more vital than ever that we do what we can to show them the exit door, following the rules and self-isolating when asked.
He added: “We recognise just how challenging self-isolation is for many people and these pilots will help us find the best ways to support people and making it easier for everyone to keep doing their bit.”
A £500 grant is currently available in England to those on low incomes who need to self-isolate.
But local Mayor Andy Burnham has been campaigning for more self-isolation support for several months – claiming it was the solution “staring us in the face“.
The Mayor stated: “Alongside full income support to enable people to self-isolate, high case areas need to be given permission to vaccinate all people right down to the age of 16, together with vaccine supplies and wider support to do it.”
Whilst the new self-isolation support schemes do not involve increased payments, the government is rolling out a “preventative vaccination plan” to jab people as young as 16 in parts of Greater Manchester where COVID is spreading.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being offered to those aged 18 and over in target wards – with 16- to 17-year-olds also eligible for the jab if they live in a “vulnerable” household.
Featured image: NHS