Coronavirus: WHO on new variant with 'multiple mutations'
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The Government has few Covid restrictions left, with the Prime Minister reluctant to further clamp down on the UK post-Freedom Day, aside from a long-enduring policy on self-isolation. Those who test positive for the virus must quarantine themselves to avoid infecting others. Unfortunately, without other restrictions, that policy has now backfired on ministers.
How long should you self isolate?
Over the last month or so, the core fallout from Omicron has come from forced isolations.
Recent research has found the variant is less deadly than its predecessors, but more transmissible.
Since its discovery in late November, Omicron has caused the UK’s daily case totals to multiply fivefold and regularly break records.
The current self-isolation rules mean that many people will have to isolate for several days.
Guidelines issued by the Government state people should spend 10 days in isolation following a positive test.
For asymptomatic positive cases, the isolation period starts when they receive confirmation of their infection.
Those who experience Covid symptoms (a high temperature, continuous cough or change to taste and smell) will have to confirm their case with a PCR test.
Their isolation starts when they receive news of their results from the laboratory.
Anybody that’s vaccinated can reduce their self-isolation period by taking tests at the tail end of the period.
Negative results from a lateral flow on days six and seven will allow them to exit their quarantine.
The existing rules for self-isolation have left some of the most vital industries in the UK desperately short-staffed.
Hospitals have had to declare critical incidents since late 2021 due to rising shortages.
They have had to dial back some routine services to concentrate on other, more urgent care, directly impacting their ability to deal with Covid.
To ease this burden, the Government has said it is looking to reduce the required isolation period.
During a recent pharmacy visit on January 10, he said ministers are considering whittling the isolation minimum from seven days to five.
Again, the prospective policy would only apply to vaccinated Britons.
But any future decisions on isolation would have to be supported by the science, Mr Johnson added.
He confirmed his Government would act “according to the science”, and his official spokesperson concurred.
They said ministers would “act quickly” if the “latest evidence” confirmed it was possible to “go further”.
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