The British health authorities are reducing its COVID-19 isolation period from 10 to seven days starting Dec 22 for people who get a negative rapid test two days in a row.
The UK Health Security Agency (HSA) made the decision as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the Europe. As infection rises, many industries have been left short-staffed in the past week as workers who test positive have to isolate.
“We want to reduce the disruption from COVID-19 to people’s everyday lives,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.
The HSA said its analysis suggested a seven-day isolation period alongside two negative tests had nearly the same protective effect as a 10-day isolation period without testing.
Commenting on the new approach, the medical officials say that it reflects the latest evidence on how long cases transmit the pathogen for. Moreover, it supports essential public services and supply chains over the winter, while still limiting the spread of the virus.
In fact, the realistic isolation period is one which lasts so long as contagiousness lasts. It may be as short as a few days in some people and longer in others, the doctors say.
The public health experts who back a shorter isolation window say the longer restriction doesn’t make sense for the fully immunized because data recommend even after a full vaccination, people appear to shed the virus. That means they stop being contagious, faster than those who haven’t received their two shots.