No plans to cut Covid isolation period to five days, government minister says

There are no “current” plans to cut the Covid isolation period from 10 to five days, a government minister has said.

Chloe Smith said the current rules in the UK for isolation were “the right” approach – following a move in the United States to relax isolation.

“There are no current plans in England to change that period,” she told BBC Breakfast.

“Of course, we have actually only recently taken it down from 10 to seven, and we want to look at that – we want to make sure that that is working as we believe it ought to.

“We think the current period, therefore, is the right one, so we haven’t any plans to change that further.”

In the US people can leave home after just give days providing they have no symptoms and wear a mask around other people. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the move was “motivated by science” and aimed at keeping “society functioning”.

Under the current UK restrictions people must self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive, though this period can be cut to seven if they can take a negative lateral flow test on days six and seven.

A record case surge was reported in the UK on Tuesday, sparking fears of a so-called “pingdemic”. Previous waves of Covid infections have seen so many people forced to isolate that staff shortages hit critical parts of the economy.

UKHospitality chief Kate Nicholls has urged ministers to “review and act on the latest CDC data to keep the economy moving, address staff concerns in education and health and avoid punitive restrictions and lockdown.”

But shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the government should follow the advice of its scientists and avoid “rushing” into emulating the United States.

The latest data on NHS staff absences is set to be published on Friday, but as of 17 December around 20,000 people working in England’s health service were off work due to Covid – up from around 13,000 a week earlier.


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.