Ministers have today confirmed that they do not plan to reduce the Covid self-isolation time to five days, despite concerns that staff shortages could threaten the NHS and other essential parts of the economy.
Scientists, MPs, and business leaders have gathered to urge Boris Johnson to follow the United States lead by reducing quarantine time.
The Government said that there would be further changes. Minister for disabled people, work and health, Chloe Smith said that the current seven-day period of isolation was the right length.
Only last week, No10 reduced the quarantine period for England from ten to seven days for those who test negative twice in a row. There have been no changes made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
However, American health officials announced late Monday that they would reduce the isolation time for positive cases from seven days to five days, provided people are not showing symptoms. This puts pressure on the UK, which is expected to follow suit.
Sir John Bell, an internationally-respected immunologist and former Government advisor, said yesterday that he would support a similar move in Britain, provided people continue to record negative lateral flows. Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia called for strict isolation rules to end ‘sooner than later’.
Others urged No10 not to rush into reducing isolation times. One NHS leader stated that any decision to reduce the quarantine period from five days to one would need to be based on ‘very clear evidence’ that it won’t cause an increase in infections.
It was also revealed today that Test & Trace still advises people to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days despite having updated their advice. Up to 800,000.