England shortens COVID-19 self-isolation period to 5 days to boost economy

Britain has recorded more than 150,000 deaths. (file)


The UK government said on Thursday it would reduce the minimum self-isolation period for people with COVID-19 in England from seven to five days to help boost economic activity.

In a statement to lawmakers announcing the change, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government had reviewed the policy to ensure that it maximizes “activity in the economy” while leaving “the isolation of people with infectious diseases.” minimizes risk”.

Javid said, “Any restrictions on our freedoms should be an absolute last resort and we should not keep them absolutely necessary for a day.”

The new rules, instead taking effect from Monday, will require people with the coronavirus to test negative on a lateral flow device on days five and six to end their isolation.

It follows the government in December cutting the quarantine period in England from 10 to seven days, as it sought to ease the fallout from an unprecedented wave of new cases fueled by the Omicron version.

The United States also switched to a five-day isolation period last month.

Javid noted that data from the UK’s Health Protection Agency showed that nearly two-thirds of positive COVID cases were not contagious by the end of the five-day stay at home.

“We want to use the testing capacity that we’ve built up to help these people leave isolation safely,” he told lawmakers.

Britain – one of the countries hardest-hit in Europe by the pandemic, recording more than 150,000 deaths – has seen a huge wave of Omicron cases that began last month, having eased somewhat in recent days.

But after weeks of record infections, millions have been forced to isolate staff levels in key sectors such as health and education.

The government hopes that shortening the period of mandatory isolation will help reduce staff shortages, with the earlier changes allowing close contacts to be tested daily instead of staying at home.

It comes as official data released last month showed Britain’s economic recovery from the pandemic slowed more rapidly in the third quarter of 2021 than before Omicron’s arrival.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)