politics

Omicron isolation rules set to be scrapped for daily tests before Christmas


People who are identified as close contacts of Omicron cases currently have to isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status

Isolation rules for Omicron contacts are expected to be lifted before Christmas
Isolation rules for Omicron contacts are expected to be lifted before Christmas

Rules forcing all contacts of suspected Omicron cases to isolate for 10 days are expected to be scrapped before Christmas.

Boris Johnson last night announced plans to replace the requirement – brought in on November 28 – with daily lateral flow tests.

Now it is believed the government is aiming to bring in the change before the Christmas break.

Further details of the policy and timings are due to be set out in the coming days.

The timing will come as a relief to families who feared a fresh “pingdemic” of isolation ruining Christmas gatherings.

Expert advisors to the government have suggested there could be a million Omicron variant cases in total in the UK by January 31.







Boris Johnson has announced changes to Covid rules to battle the Omicron variant
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Image:

Getty Images)

People will be asked to take at-home lateral flow tests and report their results truthfully themselves, as now.

It comes after the PM announced the introduction of Covid plan B measures, which include working from home if possible and wearing masks in more public places.

From Friday, masks will be mandatory in most indoor public places including cinemas and theatres.

People will be told to work from home if they can from Monday, and from December 15 spectators will have to offer proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend large events.

An expected review of restrictions next week will no longer happen – as the PM rushed to announce plan B measures last night.

Some critics have raised questions about the timing of the move, which came as he faced intense pressure over allegations of rule-breaking parties in Downing Street.

All the domestic restrictions for England will now be reviewed on January 5, with a sunset clause on January 25.

Travel testing rules – which say arrivals must take a pre-departure test and get a PCR test on arrival – will still be reviewed by January 20.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Boris Johnson would not hesitate to remove measures if the data showed the situation had improved.

He said: “The PM’s message to all MPs would be the very moment we get any information on characteristics that change that picture for the better then we would, of course, act and remove at the very earliest possible opportunity.”

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