The self-isolation period for fully vaccinated people who have coronavirus has been cut to a week as Boris Johnson reassured the public that Christmas will be able to go ahead without further restrictions.
People in England who receive negative lateral flow results on day six and day seven of their self-isolation period, and are vaccinated, will no longer have to self-isolate for the full 10 days from tomorrow, (Wednesday, December 22).
The new rule change comes just days before Christmas to help thousands of people see their families in time for the festive season.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “continuing uncertainty” about the severity of the Omicron variant and hospital admission rates means he does not believe there is enough evidence at the moment to justify stricter measures.
In a video message, the Prime Minister said: “There is no doubt that Omicron continues to surge with a speed unlike anything we’ve seen before.
“The situation remains extremely difficult but I also recognise that people have been waiting to hear whether their Christmas plans are going to be affected.
“So what I can say tonight is that naturally we can’t rule out any further measures after Christmas – and we’re going to keep a constant eye on the data, and we’ll do whatever it takes to protect public health.
“But in view of the continuing uncertainty about several things – the severity of Omicron, uncertainty about the hospitalisation rate or the impact of the vaccine rollout or the boosters, we don’t think today that there is enough evidence to justify any tougher measures before Christmas.”
Mr Johnson has however stressed that the situation remains “finely balanced” and does not rule out introducing stricter measures soon after Christmas.
Across England, 6,902 patients were in hospital with Covid-19 on December 21 – the highest number since November 10 and up 7% week-on-week.
On self-isolation for Covid cases being cut to seven days in England, Health Secretary Sajid Javid noted ministers “want to reduce the disruption from Covid-19 to people’s everyday lives”.