politics

Covid isolation axed for double-jabbed people – but only from August 16


Health Secretary Sajid Javid also announced under-18s will no longer have to isolate at all, unless they test positive for Coronavirus

Health Secretary Sajid Javid
Health Secretary Sajid Javid

Covid-19 self-isolation laws will be axed for people who have had two doses of vaccine – but not until August 16.

The rules will mean double-jabbed people in England will not be required to isolate after coming into contact with someone who tests positive, as long as they had their second dose at least two weeks earlier.

And from the same date, under-18s who come into close contact with people who test positive will not have to isolate.

Instead they will be given “advice” to take a test – depending on their age – and will only be required to isolate if they test positive.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, making a statement to the Commons, said: “I understand that some people are cautious about their idea of easing restrictions, but we must balance the risks – the risks of a virus that has diminished but not defeated, against the risks of keeping these restrictions and the health, social and economic hardship that we know they bring.

“This pandemic is far from over and we will continue to proceed with caution.

“But we’re increasingly confident that our plan is working and that we can soon begin a new chapter based on the foundations of personal responsibility and common sense rather than the blunt instrument of rules and regulations.”

Would you self-isolate even if you didn’t have to? Let us know in the comments…

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He added: “We’ll be drawing on the huge capacity we’ve built for testing and sequencing and advising close contacts who are fully vaccinated to take a PCR test as soon as possible so they can get certainty about their condition.”

“And of course anyone that tests positive will have to self-isolate whether they have had the jab or not.”

The freedom will be available to people as long as it has been at least two weeks since their second dose of the vaccine.

The NHS Covid-19 app will update to take account of the advice so people are not wrongly “pinged” to isolate.

Children over five and double-jabbed adults who have a close contact will still be advised to get a PCR test – not a rapid home test – but will only have to isolate if it comes back positive.

Children under five will only be advised to get a test if the positive test is in their own household.

Mr Javid said the new approach would manage the virus in a way that’s “proportionate to the pandemic while maintaining the freedoms that are so important to us all.”

On under-18s, Mr Javid said: “So in line with the approach for adults, anyone under the age of 18 who is a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self-isolate.

“Instead they’ll be given advice about whether they should get tested, dependent on their age and will need to self-isolate only if they test positive.

“These measures will also come into force on August 16 ahead of the autumn school term.”

Hinting at the announcements this morning, Mr Javid told BBC Breakfast: “We will have a more proportionate system of test, trace and isolate, and it is absolutely right that (for) those that have been double jabbed, that we can take a different approach than the one we take today.

“In terms of what we will be doing exactly, you will have to wait for my statement to Parliament later today.”








People who have had two jabs won’t need to self isolate
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Image:

PA)



The announcements follow Mr Johnson’s gamble on trusting the wall of immunity provided by vaccines and the judgment of the English public once legal restrictions are lifted – expected on July 19.

The Prime Minister acknowledged there may be 50,000 new cases a day by that point but insisted that if legal limits on gatherings and laws requiring the wearing of masks were not lifted this summer they may have to remain in place for another year.

Mr Javid suggested cases could rise to more than 100,000 a day in the summer as restrictions are eased.





“But what matters more than anything is hospitalisation and death numbers, and that is where the link has been severely weakened,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

Labour criticised the Government’s plan as “reckless” and called for ministers to maintain protections such as mask wearing.

Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has said the lifting of coronavirus restrictions is a “calculated risk”.








Under-18s won’t have to self-isolate at all, unless they test positive
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Image:

Getty Images)



He told Times Radio: “We do have good data now that does indicate we are gradually breaking the links in the chain between community cases and severe cases in hospital.”

He went on to say: “I should point out, looking at the data last night, 88% of people in hospital, from what I could see, had not been vaccinated or had had the vaccine but hadn’t had the chance to develop immunity, so that’s within 28 days of the vaccine.

“There’s now an incredibly strong signal that the vaccination is working and protecting the vast majority of people.”



Another government adviser, Professor Neil Ferguson, said he expected the number of daily cases to rise above the 50,000 suggested by the Prime Minister but the impact of the vaccines would keep deaths far lower than in previous waves.

“What we do know is in the second wave there was a certain ratio between cases and hospitalisations and that ratio right now is being reduced by more than two-thirds, as we get more second doses into people it will go down even further,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“Even more positively, the ratio which we saw in the past between case numbers and deaths has been reduced by more like eight to 10-fold.

“So the third wave, even if the number of cases per day gets very high, we’re still likely to see lower numbers of hospitalisations and deaths than we saw back in December and January just gone.”









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