The UK government said Thursday it will cut the minimum self-isolation period for those with Covid-19 in England from seven to five days to help boost economic activity.
In a statement to MPs announcing the change, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government had reviewed the policy to make sure it maximised “activity in the economy” while minimising “the risk of infectious people leaving isolation”.
“Any curbs on our freedoms must be an absolute last resort and that we shouldn’t keep them in place for a day longer than absolutely necessary,” Javid added.
The new rules, to take effect from Monday, will instead require those with coronavirus to test negative on a lateral flow device on day five and six in order to end their isolation.
It follows the government cutting the quarantine period in England from 10 to seven days in December, as it sought to mitigate the fallout from an unprecedented wave of new cases fuelled by the Omicron variant.
The United States also switched to a five-day isolation period last month.