The Covid self-isolation period will be cut from 10 days to seven


The Covid-19 self-isolation period is to be cut to seven days from an original 10, according to The Times. This may save Christmas for tens of thousands of people and ease staff shortages.

The new rules – which are expected to come into place this week – would mean that people no longer have to isolate for ten days if they get negative lateral flow tests on day six and seven.

With over 500,000 UK cases reported in the past seven days, this move could affect millions over the coming weeks and save Christmas for those who would’ve otherwise had to spend it alone.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has been pushing hard for the change. Advice is expected imminently from government scientists that people can be released from isolation earlier if they get the all-clear from lateral flow tests.

Tony Blair, the former prime minister, said that the country must “stay ahead” of the epidemic by releasing those with confirmed cases of coronavirus after two negative lateral flow tests.

The Cabinet Office are also suggesting to allow unvaccinated contacts to be freed from isolation through the use of daily lateral flow tests. The current rules state that people who come into contact with a confirmed case must isolate for ten days if they are not double vaccinated.

Staff shortages are currently a huge concern, and Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said absence rates were increasing both in London and elsewhere.

He said: “With reports suggesting there could be 130,000 staff off sick on Christmas Day across mental health, ambulance, community and hospitals services and with bed occupancy currently at 93 per cent, this is increasingly worrying. If cases continue to rise at this rapid rate, sadly wide-scale disruption is inevitable.”

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