The UK government has announced that from Monday (January 17) those who have been infected with Covid-19 will need to carry out two lateral flow tests at least 24 hours apart on days five and six in order to leave self-isolation. If the tests return negative, then you are free to leave your home.
The new measure comes days after the government announced that anybody who tests positive for Covid-19 on a lateral flow test will not be required to book a mandatory PCR follow up test to confirm their result. Addressing MPs in the HOuse of Commons as part of a Covid-19 update, Health Secretary Sajid Javid stated that the self-isolation period was aimed at maximising activity in the economy while “minimising the risk of people leaving isolation”.
The health secretary said that data from the UK Health Security Agency also showed that two-thirds of positive cases were no longer infectious by day five. However, the health secretary told the House of Commons the virus was “still with us and there are still likely to be difficult weeks ahead”, but added there were encouraging signs in the data that infections were falling in London and the east of England – although they were rising in other parts of the country.
Currently people have to self-isolate for at least seven days but are able to stop isolating if they return two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven. With this new change coming into effect from Monday, people in England who have tested positive for Covid must isolate for five full days, if they return two negative tests on day five and six they are allowed to leave isolation at the start of day six.
According to the health secretary, the new measures are said to apply whether you are vaccinated or not.