Covid isolation period to be reduced further to five days in England from Monday, Government confirms

Covid self-isolation period will be cut to five full days in England from Monday.

Announcing the change which will come into force from Monday, Secretary of State and Health and Social Care Care Sajid Javid said the government had decided to further reduce the legally required self-isolation period, down from seven days, following scientific advice.

People must test negative for coronavirus on the fifth and sixth days (with the day a positive test is recorded being day one) of their isolation period before they are allowed to leave.

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

With NHS hospitals across the country declaring critical incidents in response to huge Covid-related staff absences, the move is designed to minimise the impact positive coronavirus test results are having on industries, with thousands of people being sent into self-isolation for at least seven days, making them unavailable to work.

Some health experts had been worried that reducing the self-isolation period might cause people to return to work too early and as a result, spread Covid into hospitals.

But the negative test required for people to end their quarantine period is intended to prevent people spreading the virus.

Explaining the changes, Health Secretary Javid said: "UKHSA data shows that around two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five and we want to use the testing capacity that we've built up to help these people leave isolation safely.

"After reviewing all of the evidence, we've made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.

"From Monday, people can test twice before they go - leaving isolation at the start of day six.

"These two tests are critical to these balanced and proportionate plans, and I'd urge everyone to take advantage of the capacity we have built up in tests so we can restore the freedoms to this country while we're keeping everyone safe."

People are no longer required to get a PCR test following a lateral flow test if they are asymptomatic following a change last week.