In an attempt to prevent the economy from crashing with the influx of Brits being infected by Omicron, the isolation period will be reduced to a full five days.
From 7 to 5 days
Health officials have been debating the idea to ease off on the isolation period for some time but things have finally been officiated by Sajid Javid himself. In a statement explaining the decision, he said:
After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England. From Monday, people can test twice before they go–leaving isolation at the start of day six.
These two tests are critical to these balanced and proportional plans and I’d like everyone to take advantage of the capacity we have built up in tests, so that we can restore the freedoms to this country while we are keeping everyone safe.
Some relief for the health system
What's more, the decision was also pushed forward after it was observed that there was a shortage of health care workers, as many of them have become infected in recent times. With fewer employees to help in hospitals, pressure on the health system as a whole is at a critical point. Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
This is a pragmatic move which leaders will welcome if it can mean more health and care workers who are well enough can return to the frontline, providing it does not significantly add to the risk of the virus spreading.
The number of people in hospital is still high, with admissions still rising in the north of England and, alongside that, the NHS faces a huge care backlog and significant vacancies.