LONDON — The U.K. government is considering cutting the isolation period for fully-vaccinated people who test positive for coronavirus to five days, Boris Johnson said today.
Cabinet ministers, including Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, have pushed for the isolation period for fully-vaccinated people infected with the virus to be reduced.
Last month the U.K. government cut the isolation period for anyone recovering from coronavirus in England from 10 to seven days, as long as they test negative on the sixth and seventh day. Zahawi said yesterday that reducing this to five days for fully vaccinated people would “certainly help” ease pressures on workplaces hit by staff absences, including schools.
Last month the United States announced a halving of its isolation period from 10 to five days for people who test positive for coronavirus but are asymptomatic. As a result some Conservative MPs and senior ministers have piled pressure on the British government to follow suit.
The PM’s spokesman confirmed today that UK Health Security Agency and the Cabinet Office’s COVID taskforce were looking at proposals to reduce the isolation period, adding: “If it’s possible for us to go further we will do so.”
Speaking to broadcasters, Johnson said that rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs) would continue to be distributed for free “as long as they’re very important,” following reports that the government was planning to phase them out.
The prime minister said that testing was an important line of defense against the pandemic, along with vaccinations.
His spokesman said while there were “no plans” to start charging for LFTs imminently, “at a later stage as government’s response to the virus changes, universal free provision of these tests will end.”