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Covid Self-Isolation Cut From 10 Days To Seven With Negative Test Results

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Covid Self-Isolation Cut From 10 Days To Seven With Negative Test Results

People who test positive for Covid-19 in England will be able to stop self-isolating up to three days early if they have two negative lateral flow test results, the government has announced. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that from today (22 December), those with Covid can leave isolation earlier if they have negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven of their quarantine period.  

He said the move hopes to ‘reduce the disruption to people’s everyday lives’ as the new Omicron variant continues to spread ‘very rapidly’. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Credit: Alamy
Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Credit: Alamy

Javid described the change, which has been informed by advice from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), as ‘balanced and proportionate’, saying: "It is great that when people do get infected that they are properly isolating. I think that clearly helps to stop and prevent infection. 

"But it is important also to look at how we can have policies that will help to minimise that. And this step - again, informed by our clinicians - I think is a very sensible way forward." 

The new rules apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, but those who are not fully vaccinated will still have to isolate for the full 10 days if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The UKHSA also said those who leave self-isolation on or after day seven are 'strongly advised' to limit close contact with others in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, to work from home where possible and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk.

Analysis by the agency showed that a seven-day isolation period and the all-clear from two negative lateral flow test results has nearly the same protection as a 10-day isolation period without the testing.

It said the new rules reflect the latest evidence on how long infected people transmit the virus for, and will help support public service and supply chains over the winter while still limiting the spread of the virus.

Dr Jenny Harries, the UKHSA chief executive, said: “Covid-19 is spreading quickly among the population and the pace at which Omicron is transmitting may pose a risk to running our critical public services during winter.


“This new guidance will help break chains of transmission and minimise the impact on lives and livelihoods. It is crucial that people carry out their lateral flow tests as the new guidance states and continue to follow public health advice.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: UK News

Jess Hardiman
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