The UK government has confirmed that people who are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate for 10 days if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
The new rule, which comes in force from Monday, will instead require close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases to get a free PCR test as soon as possible and self-isolate in case of a positive test.
The government had announced the plans last month and confirmed it this week as official figures showed that 75 per cent of people have now received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Getting two doses of a vaccine has tipped the odds in our favour and allowed us to safely reclaim our lost freedoms, and from Monday we can take another huge step back towards our normal lives by removing self-isolation requirements for double jabbed people who are contacts of people with COVID-19. Double jabbed people who test positive will still need to self-isolate, said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Vaccines are what will bring this pandemic to an end the wall of defence provided by the rollout is allowing us to get even closer to normal life, he said.
Under current rules, critical workers were allowed to leave self-isolation to ensure vital services continued. But the changes to be introduced from Monday will mean that fully vaccinated contacts will routinely be able to attend work if they do not have symptoms.
Thanks to the huge success of the vaccine programme, we are able to ease self-isolation requirements for double jabbed people and under 18s. It is important that close contacts continue to come forward for a PCR test, in order to detect the virus and variants of concern, said Dr Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency Chief Executive (UKHSA).
Although two doses of vaccine will greatly reduce your own risk of becoming unwell with COVID-19, it is still possible to contract the virus and pass it to others. So if you develop symptoms at any time vaccinated or not you should get a test and be very careful in your contact with others until you have received a negative test result, she said.
The latest data from Public Health England (PHE) and Cambridge University shows that around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations have been prevented by the vaccines.
Meanwhile, the UK's latest daily coronavirus data on Thursday recorded 33,074 new infections and 94 deaths in a 24-hour period, compared with 29,612 new cases and 104 fatalities reported on Wednesday.
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