Change to Covid self-isolation rules to help staff shortages 'under review'

The number of days people need to isolate after contracting Covid-19 could be reduced once the education minister says it could help with staff shortages.

Nadhim Zahawi said reducing isolation time to five days – instead of the current seven days when people get the all-clear through lateral flow tests – would help ease pressure on staff and schools.

However, he told Sky that the government “needs to be careful” in reviewing the change.

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Speaking to Sky’s Trevor Phillips, he said, “Actually, we start our isolation phase when people get symptoms.

“In the US it is when they test positive so we have to be careful about moving because what you might end up with is actually a perverted incentive where the increase is higher because people are too come out early.

“But they said they will check, and if the evidence is there, if you are asymptomatic, vaccinated and boosted, and have negative lateral flow tests for two consecutive days, they said they will check.

“It would certainly help ease the pressure on schools, critical workers, and others. But I would absolutely let myself be carried away by the advice of the experts, the scientists, whether we should go from seven days to five days.

“What you don’t want is to get the wrong result from higher infection rates.”

He added, “I hope we will be one of the first major economies to show the world how to go from a pandemic to an endemic, and then deal with it, no matter how long it stays with us, whether that’s five, are six, seven, ten years. “

Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Education Secretary said cutting isolation from seven to five days was “more helpful.”

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