Two-week self-isolation period to be reduced to 10 days

Suffolk is to get 75,000 rapid Covid-19 tests each week. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The isolation and quarantine period will be reduced from 14 days to 10 days from Monday - Credit: Archant

Anyone who needs to self-isolate after being in contact with someone who has Covid-19, or quarantine following travel to somewhere outside of the approved list, will only need to do so for 10 days from Monday.

The current self-isolation period is 14 days but the change will apply from first thing Monday, December 14. It already applies in Wales. 

In joint statement, the UK's four chief medical officers said that after reviewing evidence, they were confident the number of days could be reduced. 

The change will apply to people who have come into contact with someone who has had a positive coronavirus test, as well as travellers returning from non-exempt countries. 

People who have tested positive for coronavirus should continue to isolate for 10 days, the government said. 

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said that the NHS is prepared for a wider outbreak of coronavirus

In a joint statement, Professor Chris Whitty said the UK's chief medical officers were confident the days could be reduced - Credit: PA

In the statement, Professor Chris Whitty, Dr Michael McBride, Dr Gregor Smith, and Dr Frank Atherton said: “Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of Covid as it breaks the chains of transmission.

“After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days.

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"People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days.

“People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic. We urge everyone to self-isolate when appropriate, it will save lives.”

The change to the isolation period for contacts will apply to all those who are currently self-isolating, including those who commenced self-isolation before Monday.

Self-isolation periods begin on the day after exposure, a test or the start of symptoms, and the test and trace service will tell people to self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days from Monday, the government added.