Sajid Javid announcement: Covid update TODAY after fresh demands for major rule change

Boris Johnson is looking at reducing the self-isolation period

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The Health Secretary will give a statement to MPs this afternoon. It comes after the Government has been under pressure to copy countries like the US and cut the time needed to isolate for those with Covid.

After a surge in infections in recent weeks, the policy change would help more quickly return staff to workplaces.

Vital services such as the NHS and food distributors have warned they are currently suffering from a large number of absences due to high infection rates.

More than a million people are currently in quarantine after testing positive for the virus over the past week.

England’s current policy required all those with Covid to isolate for at least seven days, with the period extended to ten days if they fail to provide evidence of two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

UK scientists had previously rejected calls for the isolation period to be cut to five days, claiming their policy was broadly in line with the US.

They inaccurately stated that in America the five day isolation period only began when an infection was confirmed by a positive test whereas in the UK it begins when someone first started showing symptoms.

Pressure has grown on the matter after the UK Health and Security Agency clarified that the isolation in the US begins at the same time as it does in Britain.

Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted his support for a change to the policy and said a decision would be made “as fast as possible”.

He said he was “certainly looking” at a reduction of the isolation period.

More to follow…

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