Boris Johnson Announces He’s Considering New Changes To Self-Isolation Period
Boris Johnson has revealed that he is considering changes to the self-isolation period for those who test positive for coronavirus.
The prime minister discussed his thoughts on the current rules during an interview today, January 10, after the government previously lowered the isolation period from 10 days to seven, with two negative tests.
Johnson has announced he now is looking at the possibility of reducing the period even further, to just five days.
See the interview below:
Johnson stressed the importance of having to ‘look at the signs’ when considering the reduction, and acknowledged that there would be benefits to making the change. He commented: ‘We’re looking at [the benefits] and we will act according to the science as we always have’.
In spite of a potential change to isolation rules, Johnson warned, ‘Omicron is still out there’ and it’s ‘incredibly contagious’.
Johnson’s comments come amid staff shortage concerns due to high numbers of coronavirus cases and the current isolation guidelines. This weekend, cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC News the country was on the road ‘from pandemic to endemic’ in terms of the staffing pressure being faced by some sectors.
Zahawi pointed out that reducing the self-isolation period would help with staff absences, though noted that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had said there might be a higher spike in coronavirus cases if the period was reduced to five days.
Under current guidelines, those who test positive for COVID-19 must not go to work, school or public places, go out for food or medicine, have visitors in their home or go outside to exercise while self-isolating. Isolation can come to an end after seven days following two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be among the ministers who are keen to reduce the isolation period to five days due to the economic benefits, though Johnson is unlikely to set out concrete plans while cases remain high, Sky News reports.
Speaking yesterday, Johnson said: ‘The pressures on hospitals are clear. What we have got to do is give the NHS all the help we can through the next period.’
Latest data from the government shows that 141,472 people tested positive for coronavirus on January 9, and a total of 1,217,097 tested positive between January 3–9.
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