Covid self-isolation to be cut to five days in England

13 January 2022, 12:55 | Updated: 13 January 2022, 13:18

The Covid isolation rules have changed in England
The Covid isolation rules have changed in England. Picture: Getty Images/Alamy
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

The Covid isolation rules will change in England from Monday.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The government has announced self-isolation rules will be relaxed in England from Monday.

Under the new laws, the quarantine time for those who have tested positive for coronavirus, and are fully vaccinated, has been reduced to a minimum of five full days.

That means those who have tested positive for Covid, or showing symptoms, will be allowed to leave isolation from the start of their sixth day.

However, they will need to have a negative lateral flow result that day, and the day before.

Sajid Javid announced the new isolation rules
Sajid Javid announced the new isolation rules. Picture: Alamy

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced the news in the House of Commons today, adding that the UK Health Security Agency shows that around two thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five.

He said: “We’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self isolation to five full days in England, from Monday, people can test twice before they go, leaving isolation at the start of day six.”

Those who are unvaccinated are still required to self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure to the virus.

This comes after the government reduced the isolation period from 10 days to five back in December for those who have received the vaccine.

Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi previously said a shortened isolation period would ‘certainly help’ with staff shortages.

More than one million people are thought to be self-isolating due to a positive test, with absences across all areas of the workforce.

This comes after a similar system was recently introduced in the US, which allows those with Covid to leave their homes at the start of day six.

In America, patients don’t have to take a lateral flow test to end their isolation, but they are asked to wear a mask for five days when around other people.

But Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick told Daily Mail: “If we were to cut isolation time to five days, it would require strict enforcement of lateral flow testing before ending isolation and, of course, no problems with the availability of these tests.”