People who test positive for COVID-19 in England will have their self-isolation period reduced from ten to seven days if they provide two negative lateral flow test (LFT) results on days six and seven of their quarantine, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Wednesday. The adjustment was developed in cooperation with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), according to Javid, and is aimed to minimize interruption to frontline services and other businesses.
Previously, if a person tested positive for coronavirus, they had to self-isolate for 10 days. ‘We want to reduce the disruption to people’s everyday lives caused by the pandemic so today we will be cutting the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven days for those people that take a lateral flow on day six and day seven and the result of both those tests are negative,” he said. “This decision has been informed by the advice of our clinicians at the UKHSA who have looked at this very carefully and they are very comfortable that the protection provided by making this change – so that people can leave isolation after day seven as long as they have taken these two lateral flow tests and the results are negative – that the protection it provides is very similar to 10 days of isolation without tests,” he said. “Of course, anyone who leaves after day seven under this new procedure should continue to remain cautious but we are also very clear that the very best way to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community is to make sure you get boosted if you’re eligible,” he added. The adjustment comes after warnings that the NHS, social care, and other frontline sectors are facing significant shortages as a result of the Omicron variant’s continuous rise, which has pushed the UK’s COVID-19 daily infections past 90,000 in recent days. As the Alpha version spread fast over parts of the UK, the self-isolation period was decreased from 14 to 10 days in December 2020.
During the Delta wave this year, mandatory isolation for vaccinated close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case was dropped and replaced with daily LFTs. With different degrees of lockdown intensity, most sections of the United Kingdom follow comparable quarantine and social isolation laws. Downing Street published a video of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, confirming that no additional lockdown restrictions will be imposed across England over the weekend ahead of Christmas. He did emphasize that the Omicron data was closely monitored, and that the government may have to impose harsher restrictions after Christmas next week. “What I can say tonight is that naturally we can’t rule out any further measures after Christmas, and we’re going to keep a constant eye on the data – we will do whatever it takes to protect public health,” he said Meanwhile, the UK reported 90,629 new COVID cases on Tuesday, a little decrease from the previous day’s total of 91,743. Many specialists anticipate that the peak of the Omicron variant in the UK may be hit this week and expect the infections to start plateauing soon.