UK cuts COVID self-isolation to 7 days for most people
By Kylie MacLellan | Reuters
LONDON – The British government has said that from Wednesday it is reducing the period of self-isolation from COVID-19 to seven days instead of 10 days for people in England who test negative on a flow test side two days in a row.
With the omicron variant spreading rapidly in Britain and record levels of cases over the past week, many industries are grappling with staff shortages, including hospitals which have warned of the risk of impact on patient safety.
The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) said its analysis suggested that a seven-day isolation period as well as two negative lateral flow test results had almost the same protective effect as a period of isolation from 10 days without testing.
“We want to reduce the disruption of COVID-19 in people’s daily lives,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.
The rapid lateral flow tests, which are provided free of charge by the UK’s National Health Service, can be self-administered by people at home and give a result within 15 to 30 minutes.
Those who receive a negative lateral flow result on the sixth and seventh day of their self-isolation period, with tests performed 24 hours apart, will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days, said the government.
The UKHSA said it had “strongly advised” those who leave their self-isolation after seven days to limit contact with others in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, to work from home and to minimize contact with those most in need. vulnerable to COVID-19.
“The new approach reflects the latest evidence on how long cases transmit the virus and supports essential utilities and supply chains during the winter, while limiting the spread of the virus,” the UKHSA said.