Downing Street has confirmed that it plans to cut Covid self-isolation time anytime soon – but plans are unlikely to be made as long as case numbers remain high amid the Omicron surge.
Ministers believe that a two-day cut – from seven to five days – could help address staff shortages in jobs across the country.
Boris Johnson has said he will act “according to science” when it comes to reducing the time people have to stay home if they test positive for Covid-19.
No. 10 said they wanted to cut isolation time “soon,” but scientists have yet to assess whether it is safe for people to return to work if they test negative after five days. Der Spiegel reports.
But a # 10 source told The Mirror it was “too early” to focus on anything other than health care support.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is believed to be among those cabinet members most interested in the economic benefits of the change that would bring Britain in line with the United States.
The UK Health and Safety Authority has admitted that it misunderstood US guidelines, which resulted in its five-day period starting “a few days” later than the UK seven-day rule.
When asked about the problem on a visit to a vaccine clinic, Mr. Johnson said, “The thing is to look at the science. We’ll look at this and we will act on the science.”
Mr. Johnson also promised that free lateral flow tests would be available “as long as necessary”.
The prime minister said testing was an important line of defense alongside vaccinations.
Mr Johnson is under pressure from Tory MPs to pledge to lift restrictions and move to a position where Covid is treated similarly to other diseases.
A new plan is believed to be developed on How England Can Live With Covid that will lay down where people should wear masks and when they should work from home.
UK cases were down for the fifth day from the previous week, but changes to testing rules mean that as of Tuesday (Jan 11) people will no longer need confirmatory PCR if they test positive.
However, a total of 17,120 people with Covid have been hospitalized in England to date – an increase of 20% compared to a week earlier.
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