A record number of people in England and Wales are self-isolating after getting pinged by the NHS Covid app.

Figures showed 618,903 alerts were sent to users of the coronavirus app in the week to July 14, a period before England’s restrictions were lifted and more social contact was allowed.

Separate data from the Department for Health and Social Care shows 1,200 people were told to self-isolate in Southend after being in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in the week to July 14.

This was up from 677 the week before, and means 1,877 people have been told to isolate in the latest 14 days alone.

Contact tracers ask new patients to give details for anyone they were in close contact with in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.

The figures show 1,328 people who came into close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in Southend were transferred to Test and Trace in the week to July 14.

It means 128 contacts were not reached by the service. The figures do not include those told to isolate in specific settings such as schools and prisons.

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Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the Government risks “losing social consent” for isolation if it does not immediately bring forward the relaxation of quarantine rules for the fully vaccinated.

People in England who are fully vaccinated will not have to self-isolate if identified as a contact from August 16, nearly a month after restrictions on social mixing were lifted and at a time when cases have soared.

Alongside the measures to protect food supplies, the Government published guidance on Thursday night setting out limited exemptions for other critical workers.

Employees providing critical services would only be able to keep working and avoid self-isolation after being identified as a contact if they were named on a list kept updated by officials.

The exemptions – mainly in 16 sectors including essential transport, the emergency services and energy industry – will allow people identified as contacts by NHS Test and Trace or the app to carry on working if their failure to do so would have a “major detrimental impact” or risk national security.

The policy only applies to named workers who are fully vaccinated and it is not a “blanket exemption” for all employees in a sector – for instance, while railway signal operators on whom the network depends may be given an exemption, individual train drivers are unlikely to be.