Wales eases self-isolation rules from 10 days to seven a week earlier than planned because rising Covid case numbers mean more critical workers are stuck at home – with the change coming into force from tomorrow as Northern Ireland does the same
Wales will ease self-isolation rules a week earlier than planned to follow England’s lead and slash the quarantine period for people with Covid-19 from 10 days to seven.
The Welsh Government had scheduled to make the change from January 5 but announced this afternoon that it is bringing the move forward to tomorrow.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the decision had been made because ‘the balance of harms has changed’ and rising case numbers mean more critical workers are stuck at home.
Northern Ireland has also announced it is easing the self-isolation rules from tomorrow, with people able to leave quarantine subject to negative tests on days six and seven.
It means Scotland is the only UK nation currently sticking to the old 10 day requirement.
Nicola Sturgeon yesterday faced criticism after she failed to cut quarantine as she said the matter is still being looked at.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said the decision had been made because ‘the balance of harms has changed’ and rising case numbers mean more critical workers are stuck at home
The Welsh Government had scheduled to make the change from January 5 but announced this afternoon that it is bringing the move forward to tomorrow
England changed its approach on self-isolation just before Christmas and Wales and Northern Ireland are now following suit.
Mr Drakeford said in a statement issued this afternoon: ‘The Health Minister published a written statement on 23 December about reducing the self-isolation period from 10 to seven days, on the basis of two negative lateral flow tests taken on days six and seven, from 5 January.
‘We will introduce this change tomorrow (31 December). This means people who have tested positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate for seven days.
‘On days six and seven of their self-isolation period they should take lateral flow tests and if these tests – taken 24 hours apart – are positive, they should continue to self-isolate.
‘We are bringing the change forward because the balance of harms has changed and the rising number of cases has begun to have an impact on the number of people, in critical jobs, who are excluded from the workplace because of self-isolation.’
Mr Drakeford said the Welsh Cabinet will ‘continue to review the position in Wales on a weekly basis, as we see the omicron variant take hold’ across the country.
He added: ‘Given the seriousness of the threat the virus poses, it remains vitally important that each one of us continues to take all those simple precautions which will help to slow down the spread of the virus and the risks it poses to all of us.’
Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan announced this afternoon that self-isolation rules will be eased from tomorrow
Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan convened a virtual meeting of the Stormont Executive today and decided no further Covid restrictions will be imposed at the moment.
However, self-isolation requirements will be changed from tomorrow, in line with England.
He tweeted: ‘The self isolation period for positive cases will reduce from 10 days to 7 days subject to negative lateral flow tests on day 6 & 7.
‘This policy will apply retrospectively and takes effect tomorrow.’