Self-isolation times cut with negative lateral flow results in huge rule change

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People infected with Covid who get consecutive negative results on their lateral flow tests will now have to isolate for just seven days, the government has announced.

Vaccinated people who test positive for the virus will now be able to secure their freedom if they receive negative lateral flow results on day six and day seven of their self-isolation period, instead of 10 days.

The new rules will come into place from today (Wednesday 22).

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed that new analysis had shown a seven-day isolation period including two negative lateral flow test results was almost exactly as effective at preventing the spread of the infection as a 10-day isolation period without testing.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: "We want to reduce the disruption from COVID-19 to people's everyday lives.

"Following advice from our clinical experts, we are reducing the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven if you test negative on an [lateral flow] test for two days running.

Rapid lateral flow tests are provided free by the NHS and can give a result in 15 to 30 minutes.

However, the UKHSA said it "strongly advised" those who leave their self-isolation after seven days to limit contact with others in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home and minimise contact with those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

It also said the two consecutive tests must be taken at least 24 hours apart.

A spokesperson from the UKHSA said: "The new approach reflects latest evidence on how long cases transmit the virus for, and supports essential public services and supply chains over the winter, while still limiting the spread of the virus"

  • Coronavirus

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