Covid: Self-isolation to be scrapped for double-jabbed and children in England

Health / Tue 6th Jul 2021 at 01:05pm

FULLY vaccinated people in England won’t have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive for Covid from 16 August, the health secretary says reports the BBC.

Sajid Javid told MPs the same policy would also apply to anyone under the age of 18 from that date.

The government would give more details this week on self-isolation rules for international travel, he added.

“This new approach means we can manage the virus in a way that is proportionate,” Mr Javid said.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has also announced the end of the “bubble” system in schools, which has led to large numbers of pupils being sent home if a single child has a positive test, from 19 July.

Earlier, Mr Javid said daily cases “could go as high as 100,000” when restrictions were fully lifted.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Javid said: “From 16 August when even more people will have the protection of both doses, and when modelling suggests the risks from the virus will be even lower, anyone who is a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self-isolate if they have been fully vaccinated.

“If someone gets their second dose just before or just after 16 August, they’ll need to wait two weeks, after which their second jab can take effect and give them these new freedoms.” 

As under-18s are not routinely jabbed, he said a similar exemption from self-isolation rules would be extended to them.

He said adults who had been in close contact with a positive case would be “advised” to get a PCR as soon as possible to make sure they hadn’t been infected, while for children it would be dependent on their age.

People identified as close contacts of a confirmed Covid case are currently required to self-isolate for up to 10 full days when contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

He added that “of course” anyone that tests positive would have to self-isolate whether they have had the jab or not.

Mr Javid added that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will update MPs this week on how to “remove the need for fully-vaccinated arrivals to isolate when they return from an amber list country”.

Earlier, the health secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he would expect cases numbers by 19 July to be “at least double” what they were now “so around 50,000 new cases a day”.

“As we ease and go into the summer we expect them to rise significantly and they could go as high as 100,000 case numbers,” he added.

Prof Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College – whose modelling helped lead to the first nationwide restrictions – said as restrictions eased there was the potential for the UK to have a very large numbers of cases – 150,000 to 200,000 a day – which could “still cause some pressure to the health system”.

However he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that although it was a “slight gamble” he thought it was “justifiable”, adding “I’m reasonably optimistic.”

He said the vaccines would keep deaths far lower than in previous waves. “The ratio which we saw in the past between case numbers and deaths has been reduced by more like eight to 10-fold.”

He said that in the worst-case scenario there “may need to be a course correction later”.

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