People in England who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer have to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has the virus from August 16, the government has said.
The arrangement also applies to those under 18, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday as he outlined the further easing of England’s Covid-19 rules.
Javid said people would have to wait for two weeks after their second jab in order for their immunity to the virus to build up, thus allowing them to avoid self-isolating.
Under the current system, people identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of someone with Covid-19 are required to isolate for 10 days.
Javid said that, as the new change comes in, the government will still advise fully vaccinated close contacts of people with the virus to take a PCR test.
Those who do test positive will still have to isolate regardless of whether they have had the jab, Javid said.
“This new approach means that we can manage the virus in a way that is proportionate to the pandemic, while maintaining the freedoms that are so important to us all,” he added.
Javid’s announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday declared the end to most of England’s Covid-19 restrictions from July 19.
The health measures set to be scrapped include the six-person limit on gatherings in private homes, as well as social distancing and the legal requirement to wear face masks in enclosed areas like public transport.
Javid said on Tuesday that as England leaves lockdown there could be as many as 100,000 new Covid-19 cases a day in the UK.
In his announcement on Monday, Johnson said: “We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid.”
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