Boris Johnson has apologised to businesses affected by the "inconvenience" of self-isolation for workers pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app, but defended waiting until August 16 to relax the rules.

The Prime Minister told the Commons that "everybody understands the inconvenience of being pinged", after the NHS app sent more than 500,000 alerts in a week.

"I apologise to everybody in business up and down the land in all kinds of services – public sector or otherwise – who are experiencing inconvenience,” he said.

But during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson defended waiting until August 16 to end self-isolation rules for the double-jabbed, as Labour branded him a “super-spreader of confusion” with little clarity yet on which critical workers will be exempt before then.

He also insisted people “should” self-isolate when pinged, after ministers appeared muddled over whether this was a choice, calling isolation a “vital tool in our defence against the disease”.

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