New push to cut ten-day Covid isolation period to a week

New push to cut ten-day Covid isolation period to a week after experts warn that current rules could cripple the economy

  • Anyone who is infected with virus must isolate for 10 days after symptoms or test
  • Sources say the change in policy is ‘being looked at’ to stop UK grinding to a halt
  • It even has the backing of Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London 

Ministers are considering slashing the quarantine period for people who test positive for Covid from ten to seven days.

As reported in Saturday’s Daily Mail, health experts, MPs and business leaders have called for a change, warning that the current rules risk crippling healthcare and the economy.

Anyone who is infected with the virus must isolate for ten days after first developing symptoms or testing positive. 

But the ‘blunt tool’ fails to account for infectiousness and is fuelling ‘lockdown by stealth’ by keeping so many people at home.

Anyone who is infected with the virus must isolate for ten days after first developing symptoms or testing positive

Now it has emerged that modelling by government scientific advisers indicates it would be possible to reduce the isolation period without having a significant impact on infection rates if people had a negative test before they were released.

Sources say the change in policy is ‘being looked at’ to stop the country grinding to a halt.

It even has the backing of Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, whose doom-laden forecasts prompted previous lockdown measures.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday how he would feel about reducing quarantine to seven days, Professor Ferguson said: ‘All the modelling and analysis would suggest if it’s coupled with lateral- flow testing it’s not going to reduce the effectiveness of the measure that much.’

It even has the backing of Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, pictured, whose doom-laden forecasts prompted previous lockdown measures

Tory MP Peter Bone backed a change, saying: ‘We need a more sophisticated policy that can help get people back to work as soon as possible.’

Officials estimate a million people a day could soon be infected with the Omicron variant, which would leave ‘swathes’ of the population interned. Experts say this could trash the economy by leaving shops, bars and restaurants with too few workers and customers while emergency services would also be understaffed.

The number of NHS staff in London absent due to Covid has more than doubled in four days and one in three of the workforce would be absent by New Year’s Eve if the growth rate continues.

Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing’s England director, said such a situation would be ‘catastrophic’.

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