In the recent weeks, an alarming number of people have been getting alerts to self-isolate due to possible contact with a COVID-positive individual. This has affected daily life in the UK as several businesses and local transportation have had to slow down or shut down because of a staff shortage. But now that more than 75% of the population has been fully vaccinated, authorities are planning to change up the rules on self-isolation.
New rules on self-isolation
From 16 August, everyone in England who has been double-jabbed—along with those under 18—will no longer have to do the 10-day quarantine if they have had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. Instead, they will have to take a PCR test. A negative result will allow them to forgo self-isolation and they’ll have to follow the regular quarantine measures if they’re found positive.
These new guidelines will also apply to everyone under the age of 18 so that ‘young people can make the most of their education as restrictions continue to ease.’
The government has advised all those who are fully vaccinated and who have been in contact with a COVID-positive individual to exercise caution by wearing a mask in enclosed spaces and minimising interactions with other people—even if they are tested negative.
Back to normal?
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that although self-isolation played a critical role in getting the virus under control, certain freedoms can reinforced now that a majority of adults are fully vaccinated. He said:
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.
This measure has already come into effect in Wales and Scotland, while ministers in Northern Ireland are expected to discuss the matter on 12 August.