Federation of Small Businesses national chairman Mike Cherry said: “We’re pleased to see this decision from the Health Secretary and UK Health and Security Agency.
“Over the past month we have made the case that, if it can be done safely, shortening the isolation period would make a huge difference to the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that currently have staff off work.
“Mass isolation of two million people has hit the workforce just at the moment when firms are trying to bounce back from yet another disrupted festive season.
“This announcement marks an important intervention; it’s a relief to see policymakers embrace our recommendation.
“From here, the Government should now make good on past promises to deliver a world leading test-and-trace infrastructure. The workplace testing initiative – closed last summer – should be relaunched immediately and lateral flow supplies shored up.
“More widely, we’re encouraging this administration to rediscover its pro-enterprising, reforming zeal. Against a backdrop of surging inflation, labour shortages and increasing late payment, its decision to hike national insurance contributions looks increasingly misjudged. It should reconsider.”
Sajid Javid said UK Health Security Agency data showed “that around two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five”.