Given the current rapid spread of the Omicron variant, it's likely you'll know somebody who has recently tested positive for coronavirus. Previously the rules in England stated that once you've received a positive test result you must isolate for ten days, but the government have now announced that has been reduced down to seven – one on condition.
The government has said that after consulting with health experts, if a person now has a negative lateral flow test on both days 6 and 7 that they may leave isolation after seven days.
They are encouraging the public to report their lateral flow test results but have said you may still leave isolation three days sooner without doing so – provided you are no longer displaying any symptoms of Covid.
These rules apply to those who are vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated, but guidance currently states that if you've not been double-jabbed and are in close contact with somebody who has tested positive that it is best to remain isolated for the ten day period.
When asked to comment on the reason for this decision, Health Secretary Sajid Javid did not comment directly on whether or not it came about due to concerns about the NHS (many healthcare workers are having to isolate currently), but said he hoped the changes would "minimise disruption" to daily life moving forward.
"We want to reduce the disruption to peoples everyday lives caused by the pandemic so today we will be cutting the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven days for those people that take a lateral flow on day six and day seven and the result of both those tests are negative," Javid commented, as per Sky News.
He added, "This decision has been informed by the advice of our clinicians at the UKHSA who have looked at this very carefully and they are very comfortable that the protection provided by making this change - so that people can leave isolation after day seven as long as they have taken these two lateral flow tests and the results are negative - that the protection it provides is very similar to 10 days of isolation without tests."
Javid also said it was important for anyone who leaves isolation after day seven under this new procedure to remain cautious, avoid crowds, being in badly ventilated areas or around those who are vulnerable.
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