The government is expected to continue the contact tracing programme even after Britain comes out of lockdown on June 21st to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The programme’s extension means that even those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may still have to self isolate for ten days if they are a contact case. This is because even though vaccinated people are not likely to fall ill, they still have the ability to pass the virus onto others.
Close contact has been outlined to be anywhere from having a face to face conversation, being within one metre of the virus for one minute, or within two metres for 15 minutes.
Contact tracing and isolation could deter residents from large events
News reports fear the continuation of the contact tracing programme could undermine the return of normality and prevent people from attending large scale events in fear of accidentally coming into contact with the virus.
Offices may also be deterred from reopening in fear of any contact cases that could arise from mixing vaccinated and unvaccinated staff members.
The extension of the programme would present a very different scenario than in the US, where the CDC announced that people fully vaccinated against coronavirus wouldn’t need to quarantine if they came into contact with COVID unless they developed symptoms or if required to by local laws.
The government will announce contact tracing decisions next week
Announcements on the reconsideration of social distancing rules will occur next week, where Boris Johnson could reveal the relaxation of mask-wearing and the rule to keep one metre apart when indoors. The changes, if approved, would be announced to take hold on the 21st of June, when the final steps out of lockdown will be taken.
Government sources revealed to The Telegraph that despite the reconsideration of rules, it was imperative for the contact tracing system to remain, as even fully vaccinated people could still pass on COVID.
This means that those with two doses of their coronavirus vaccine will still need to self-isolate for ten days if they come into close contact with the virus.
Many ministers are instead pushing for a plan that could allow these people to leave quarantine after five days if they manage to test negative for COVID. The idea matches the rules currently in place for travellers who come to the country from amber-list destinations. But, the idea has yet to gain traction inside Downing Street.
Prime minister Boris Johnson recently delayed the announcement on social distancing rules due to the increasing cases of the Indian variant in the UK. The statement can now be expected on June 14th, just one week before June 21st, the earliest date to remove restrictions.