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Saturday, 23 May 2020

Day 68 of self-isolation - hello, I'm Karen from contact tracing

You get a call from someone you don't know. "Hello, I'm Karen from contact tracing" and your blood runs cold.

Karen tells you that someone (she can't tell you who, for Data Protection reasons) has tested positive for Covid-19, and has been in contact with you.

"So you might be infected, and you need to be quarantined."

And now your head is spinning - this virus could be deadly. "Quarantined?" you ask, querulously? "Yes," says Karen, you have to take two weeks off work and self-qurantine."

"Two weeks off work? I can't. Our savings are already gone, I won't be able to pay rent, or ..." Karen interrupts. "Listen carefully. You are probably infected with Covid-19, and until you are proven uninfected, the law requires you to self-isolate. If you don't, then the maximum fine is £1000, and/or up to 30 days in prison."

"£1000? I haven't even for £100! And I can't afford to take time off work."

"There is an alternative," says Karen.

"What, what?" you ask eagerly.

"If you get tested and come up clean, then you can go straight back to work."

"How do I get tested?" you ask.

"It's quite simple," says Karen.  "I can send you a test kit, and you can self-test. Just give me your address."

You give your address.

"And what credit card will you be using?"

"What will this cost?" you ask.  "£25", says Karen, "but you can claim it back from your usual GP by handing in the test kit."

You give your credit card number, expiration date and three digit security code.

"Thank you," says Karen, "your test kit should arrive within 24 hours."


And of course, it doesn't.



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