A "test and release" pilot scheme used by Michael Gove to avoid self-isolating has not yet been approved by ministers for the public at large, Sajid Javid has confirmed.
Mr Gove was among 40,000 people who took part in a pilot of the policy, which involves people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus testing themselves every morning for seven days.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was alerted by the NHS app after he came into contact with a Covid patient while attending the FA Cup final in Portugal with his son last month.
Data from the scheme is being analysed by Department of Health officials in the hope it can be used to prevent people who have not contracted the virus from being forced to stay at home.
But on Monday, Mr Javid, the Health Secretary, said ministers were yet to approve it for general use.
"I haven’t yet seen the final results of that, but the results are starting to come through to the department," he told MPs.
Greg Clark, the chairman of Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, said the scheme’s rollout should be accelerated to prevent disruption to businesses this summer.
He told The Telegraph: "It makes a huge difference if people can be tested every day, but go about their business rather than have to isolate.
"If the pilot has established that it’s a perfectly safe and reliable way to avoid infection, then there may be hundreds of thousands of people who could benefit from that, including businesses who would otherwise suffer the loss of staff and people whose holiday plans will be disrupted."
Mr Javid also confirmed on Monday that a planned isolation exemption for NHS staff will only be used in "exceptional circumstances, where the self-isolation of fully vaccinated close contacts could directly impact the safety of patients".
Ministers have already announced that from August 16 people who have had two vaccinations will no longer need to isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive.
People who avoid isolation will first be encouraged, but not required, to take a PCR test to ensure they are not carrying the virus.