Covid: Boris Johnson suggests major change to isolation laws could come within weeks - here's what you need to know

THE laws around self-isolating after testing positive for Covid could come to an end within weeks, the Prime Minister has suggested.

Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 12:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 2:42 pm

Boris Johnson said he will present his plan for ‘living with Covid’ when Parliament returns from a short recess on February 21.

And he indicated that, as long as the data remains positive, the legal duty to self-isolate will be lifted a month earlier than planned.

It had been planned to come to an end on March 24.

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A Covid lateral flow test. Picture: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

At Prime Minister’s Questions he said: ‘It is my intention to return on the first day after the half-term recess to present our strategy for living with Covid.

‘Provided the current encouraging trends in the data continue, it is my expectation that we will be able to end the last domestic restrictions – including the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive – a full month early.’

Currently people who test positive for Covid have to isolate for five days – with negative tests on day five and day six.

But that could come to an end within weeks.

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What are the current rules?

Sajid Javid announced in the House of Commons in January that the self-isolation period was being cut to five days.

He told MPs that UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data showed ‘that around two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five’.

He added: ‘After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.’

Do you need negative tests to end isolation currently?

To leave isolation you will need two negative tests – one on day five and then on day six, letting you leave isolation.

Mr Javid said: ‘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.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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