Ministers could sign off cutting Covid self-isolation to just five days TOMORROW as businesses call for change to get people back at work after Omicron wave wreaked havoc with staff absences
- Self-isolation period following a positive Covid test is currently set at seven days
- But ministers in England are reportedly set to cut self-isolation to just five days
- Expected move comes after Omicron wave wreaked havoc with staff absences
Ministers are expected to agree to cut the coronavirus self-isolation period in England from seven days to just five tomorrow, it was claimed today.
The Government has reportedly concluded that the benefits of reducing quarantine to get more people back to work outweigh the increased risk of more people leaving self-isolation while still infectious.
The Covid-O committee of senior ministers is likely to sign off on the move tomorrow, according to The Times.
Boris Johnson has faced repeated calls from business leaders and Tory MPs in recent weeks to slash the self-isolation period for positive cases after the surge of infections during the Omicron wave wreaked havoc with the nation’s workforce.
Ministers are expected to agree to cut the coronavirus self-isolation period in England from seven days to just five tomorrow, it was claimed today
The Government has reportedly concluded that the benefits of reducing quarantine to get more people back to work outweigh the increased risk of more people leaving self-isolation while still infectious
Health Secretary Sajid Javid is said to be among the ministers who are backing the policy change
Mr Johnson has apparently been told by his scientific advisers that reducing the self-isolation period to five days will result in a slightly increased infection risk.
But there is a feeling in the Cabinet that the move makes sense because Covid infections appear to to be peaking but staff absences remain high.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid is said to be among the ministers who are backing the policy change which would see England follow the lead of the US where the self-isolation period is already five days.
A Government source told The Times: ‘With the epidemiology going in the right direction, the merits [of cutting isolation] are becoming clearer.’
One official said there is a ‘sliding scale of risk’ and ‘it’s up to ministers to make the trade-offs’.
The UK Health Security Agency has submitted data to the Government which apparently shows approximately six per cent of people leaving quarantine after seven days are still infectious.
That number would rise to approximately eight per cent if the quarantine period is reduced to five days with a negative test requirement.
Ministers cut the self-isolation period in England from 10 days to seven just before Christmas. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland all then followed suit after Christmas.
UK ministers had been resisting going any further but always insisted that the policy was being kept under constant review.
They are now reportedly persuaded that they can move to five days amid growing signs that the Omicron wave may have peaked.
Daily coronavirus cases fell by nearly 45 per cent week on week yesterday – the biggest drop since Omicron infections spiked.
There were 120,821 new positive tests logged across the country, down from the pandemic high of 218,000 on the previous Tuesday.
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