Anna says she did not want to break the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown rules. The 37-year-old has worked through the pandemic. Anna says she cleans an office building in London which is open but nearly empty, as most staff are working from home.
It’s a job the Ecuadorean native has done for five years, after moving to the UK from Spain in 2013 while looking for work. CNN is not disclosing Anna’s real name as she fears repercussions from her employer.
Anna’s employer insisted that she continue to clean the building during the pandemic but cut her hours from five a day to four. She earns £10.75 ($14.77) per hour.
“I have been forced to go to work in a nonessential building,” she told CNN. “There is no one at work, I’m alone.”
Last month Anna caught Covid-19. She’s unsure where she picked it up from but said it was likely “on the bus or on the Underground.”
I had a lot of coughs, fever, fatigue… and dizziness,” she said. “And I [am taking a long time to recover] because this disease is very painful [and] horrible.”
But after staying home for a few days as she recovered from the disease, Anna decided to go into work, as she was only receiving partial pay.
UK government rules state that while recovering from Covid-19, patients should self-isolate for at least 10 full days.
“I only felt tired and [had] a headache,” she said. “That is why I went to work — I also couldn’t afford to stay at home because I received very little salary.
I feel guilty that I went to work and infected more people, [but] I had no other option.”
Breaches of self-isolation rules are rampant across the UK. Up to 20,000 people a day are failing to stay home when instructed to, according to Dido Harding, who is in charge of the country’s coronavirus Test and Trace scheme.
For the British government, the lack of compliance is a significant worry.
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