Double-Jabbed And Under-18s Won't Have To Self-Isolate From August 16
Sajid Javid confirmed the double-jabbed will not have to self-isolate from August 16 (Alamy)
Sajid Javid has confirmed fully-vaccinated people will soon not be required to self-isolate if they come into contact with somebody infected with coronavirus.
But the policy will only come into force from 16 August, meaning those with two jabs face another month of getting pinged by the NHS Test & Trace app, asking them to quarantine for 10 days, the health secretary confirmed.
Javid also announced from the same date people aged under 18 will not have to isolate if they come into close contact with someone who has tested positive.
They will instead be given "advice" to take a test, depending on their age, and then will only have to quarantine if they test positive.
The school bubbles system, which has led to hundreds of thousands of children isolating without symptoms will also be scrapped from 19 July, education secretary Gavin Williamson later confirmed to MPs.
England is due to significantly relax Covid restrictions on 19 July, including the legal requirement to wear masks and bans on large gatherings.
The government has accepted we could soon reach 100,000 infections per-day, but believes the link between infection and hospitalisation and death has been sufficiently weakened.
Speaking in the Commons this lunchtime Javid said he understood people were cautious about easing restrictions, but the risks of the virus, and secondary effect of lockdown must be balanced.
"The risks of a virus that has diminished but not defeated, against the risks of keeping these restrictions and the health, social and economic hardship that we know they bring," he said.
"This pandemic is far from over and we will continue to proceed with caution.
"But we're increasingly confident that our plan is working and that we can soon begin a new chapter based on the foundations of personal responsibility and common sense rather than the blunt instrument of rules and regulations."
The newly appointed health secretary believed this "risk-based approach" was justified alongside the "huge benefits" of the vaccine programme.
So far aroud 50% of the population have received two doses of a vaccine, which the government aims to raise to 75% by the end of the month.
"From 16 August when even more people will have the protection of both doses, and when modelling suggests the risks from the virus will be even lower, anyone who's a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self-isolate if they have been fully vaccinated," Javid continued.
But he reminded people that there is a lag of two weeks between being jabbed, and seeing its full effects, meaning someone would need to have received the vaccine by the end of July to be exempt from isolation by the time the rules change.
"If someone gets their second dose just before or just after 16 August, they'll need to wait two weeks, after which their second jab can take effect and give them these new freedoms," Javid added.
The health secretary also explained measures for under-18s, who will no longer be required to isolate after coming into contact with a positive Covid case.
"Instead they'll be given advice about whether they should get tested, dependent on their age and will need to self-isolate only if they test positive.
"These measures will also come into force on August 16 ahead of the autumn school term."
He added: "This new approach means that we can manage the virus in a way that's proportionate to the pandemic while maintaining the freedoms that are so important to us all."
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