Covid isolation period 'to be slashed to five days with a decision imminent'

The government is reportedly set to cut the Covid isolation period from seven to five days due to the strain on the UK workforce with a decision “imminent” and it could come on Thursday

The government appears set to cut the Covid isolation period to five days
The government appears set to cut the Covid isolation period to five days

Boris Johnson has said he is “certainly looking” at cutting the Covid isolation period from seven to five days as reports claim that a decision is “imminent” and could come on Thursday.

Self-isolation after testing positive is said to be causing problems in the workplace and there has been concern over the NHS being overstretched as well as schools struggling for teachers.

Now the prime minister has told the Commons that he is “certainly looking” at the option to reduce the isolation period to five days while adding that he will “bring you more about that as fast as possible”.

The Times reports that ministers could agree the shorter period on Thursday and that there is consensus about the need to introduce it.

A Government source told the outlet: “With the epidemiology going in the right direction, the merits are becoming clearer.”

There is consensus in the Cabinet to bring in five day isolation periods, it is reported



Any move would be “imminent” The Sun also reported, with a source saying: “A decision is imminent and the mood music is very much towards cutting self-isolation and allowing more people back to work.”

In the Commons, Simon Fell MP said that up to 15% of staff at his local hospital trust were isolating.

He said: “So with that in mind will my right honourable friend consider reducing the self-isolation period, if it is seen to be safe to do so, down to five days and also accepting any MACA (Military Aid to the Civil Authorities) requests which come through to help get people back out into the community and into social care.”

Mr Johnson said: “Yes, we are certainly looking at reducing the isolation period. I hope to bring you more about that as fast as possible.

“We will certainly look at all MACA requests. But more fundamentally what we can do to alleviate the pressures in his hospital is to fix the health and social care divide which is what this government is also doing after a generation of neglect.”

Self-isolation has been causing a strain on the workforce


In Pictures via Getty Images)

The UK Health Security Agency has submitted data to the government which shows around 6% of people leaving quarantine after seven days are still infectious and that number would go up to 8% if the quarantine period is reduced to five days, it is reported.

Absences among teaching staff are also causing chaos in education and schools minister Robin Walker said he would back a five day isolation if the science supported it.

The Department for Education has estimated that 8.6% of teachers and school leaders in England – around 44,000 of staff – were absent at the start of term last week.

When asked whether schools would remain open for the remainder of the year, Mr Walker told MPs: “This is an absolute priority for us.”

He added: “We want to do everything we can to support schools to remain open.

“We have seen, of course, huge challenges and I’m extremely grateful to school leaders and teachers for the immense amount of work that they put in to keep schools open.”

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