Boris Johnson was today asked by Britain’s hospitality leaders to shorten the Covid self-isolation time to just five days. This is because there are no more Covids to help customers following the spread Omicron. 

Marcello Distefano is the managing director at San Carlo Italian Restaurant Chain. He admits that he has to close some of his 23 restaurants because of staff shortages. Staffing levels are still high enough to allow for new year’s Eve.

When asked to reduce the isolation period to five days, he replied: “It’s going help.” It doesn’t alter the fact we have to relocate people to maintain restaurants open. It is clear that there are no more people available, and we may have to close many restaurants. 

He stated that restaurants are being forced to cut back on their capacity because they don’t have enough staff to meet demand. Due to a lack of staff we have to lower the menus. We’ve noticed a significant increase in people being off work due to the spread of the virus over the past seven to ten working days.

“Tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve is tomorrow and we’re taking it day-by-day to determine if it’s possible for us to stay open. We’ll have to close many of our restaurants in the next week. 

He spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning and said that the government had issued gloomy warnings, which prevented a record-breaking Christmas.

“We weren’t anywhere near the Christmas sales that we had hoped for,” he stated, noting that his hopes were fulfilled in the hope of seeing double the Christmas takings over the next few weeks.

However, the UK Government insisted there were no plans to make any further changes to the quarantine period. They had been reduced from ten and seven days after a negative lateral flow testing on days six through seven. Officials also stated that they would continue to review the rules. 

Boris Johnson was urged by No10 to be cautious about changing his tactics as the pressure mounts on him to reduce the Covid self isolation period to just five days.

Senior World Health Organization officials stated that it is not advisable to use coronavirus-fighting strategies that are based on Omicron data ‘early.

Executive director of the Agency’s Health Emergency Programme, Dr Michael Ryan, advised governments to wait and watch before taking any action. But, Ryan claimed that there were less chances for the virus being transmitted to another person after just six days. He also acknowledged it was up each country to take a “judgement call”.

Science leaders, MPs, and business executives have gathered to call on the Prime Minister for a reduction in the amount of time that is spent in quarantine.

Late on Monday, American health officials announced they would cut their isolation time for positive cases to just five days – provided people were showing no symptoms, piling pressure on the UK to follow suit.

Only last week, No10 reduced the England quarantine period from ten to seven days for people who have tested negative twice in a row. The Government said today that no additional changes were being made and insisted on the current strategy.

The UK’s rest has remained with the original 10-day rule. Nicola Sturgeon, today declared that there would not be any decision to reduce it in Scotland until next week.

Many others today called on No10 to not rush into cutting isolation times. One NHS leader stated that any decision to reduce the quarantine duration to five days must be supported by clear evidence it will not cause an increase in infection rates.

Health bosses warn that the NHS’s staff shortage is more serious than rising coronavirus admissions. Omicron has been spreading rapidly and this trend continues.

Meanwhile, it also emerged today that Test & Trace is still telling people to quarantine for 10 full days despite the updated advice.

There are currently up to 800,000.

Marcello Distefano, managing director of the San Carlo Italian restaurant chain, admits he will have to close several of their 23 restaurants due to staff shortages with staffing levels for New Year's Eve still touch and go.

Marcello Distefano is the managing director at San Carlo Italian Restaurant Chain. He admits that he has to close several restaurants because of staff shortages. However, staffing levels are still high enough to allow for New Years Eve.

Scientists, MPs and business leaders have lined up to urge Boris Johnson (pictured during a visit to a Covid vaccination site in Milton Keynes this morning) to follow the US' example by once again reducing the time spent in quarantine. But the Government has said there are 'no further changes' planned

Boris Johnson was urged by scientists, MPs, and business leaders to follow the US example of reducing time in quarantine (pictured at a Covid vaccine site in Milton Keynes). The Government said that there were no further changes planned.

Britain's Covid's self-isolation sentence could be halved to just five days, some academics have argued. Data suggests roughly 98 per cent of virus transmission occurs either before people become ill, or within five days of symptoms starting

Some academics believe that Britain’s Covid could have its self-isolation sentence reduced by half to five days. Data shows that 98% of viruses are transmitted before symptoms appear.

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's health emergencies programme

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon

On reducing the time spent in Covid quarantine Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization health emergencies programme has said it is not ‘advisable’ to adapt Covid-fighting strategies based on ‘early’ Omicron data and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has announced that no decision on scaling back isolation times in Scotland would be made until next week at the earliest

Meanwhile, it also emerged today that Test & Trace is still telling people to quarantine for 10 full days despite the updated advice. Up to 800,000 people are thought to currently be in isolation. An email telling the recipient to self-isolate for 10 days despite the change in guidance

Meanwhile, it also emerged today that Test & Trace is still telling people to quarantine for 10 full days despite the updated advice. It is believed that up to 800,000.00 people currently live in isolation. Email to the sender advising them to isolate themselves for 10 day despite the fact that the guidance has changed. 

Test & Trace is still telling people to quarantine for 10 days despite the updated advice, texts seen by MailOnline show

Test & Trace is still telling people to quarantine for 10 days despite the updated advice, texts seen by MailOnline show

How safe is it to remove the 10-day quarantine? 

What is the maximum time people can be infected?

Some academics argue that Britain’s Covid could have its self-isolation sentence reduced to five days.

The data suggests that approximately 98% of viruses are transmitted before symptoms appear or within five days. 

The University of St Andrews’ infectious disease expert Dr Muge Cervik said that most cases are transmitted very quickly.

“Viral load spikes quickly so that people become highly infected within the first few days. 

What is the maximum time that Covid positive patients can test positive?

Using lateral flow tests that take less than 15 minutes to provide results, it is ideal for identifying people most susceptible. 

The antigens are viral proteins found in nasal and throat samples.

However, the kits have a lower sensitivity than the gold-standard PCRs. Swabs are sent to labs to analyse for virus genetic material. 

This means that they will be less likely than others to detect someone infected. However, they may also not give positive results if someone is more severe and has a higher viral load.

However, PCRs are sensitive to viral fragments and may detect them even after symptoms have resolved.

A positive PCR test does not necessarily mean that someone is contagious. 

Today, Dr Ryan spoke at a WHO Press Conference. He said that even with previous variants, most people incubate symptoms and become positive within six days. After that time the chance of becoming positive for the disease or passing it on to others is lower.

“But, it is for governments to make the decision about when to let people out of quarantine situations with additional testing.

‘The most important thing at this moment is we need to be careful about changing tactics and strategies immediately on the basis of what we’re seeing in early Omicron data.

‘”Oh, it’s less severe” – maybe its not; “It’s more transmissible” – maybe it is, but we have to wait and see if the vaccines work or they don’t work, we have to wait and see, and I think it will be advisable at this point if we don’t see huge shifts, huge moves in reducing control measures for Covid purely on the basis of initial and preliminary studies.’

While the UK Government said that no additional changes are planned to decrease quarantine periods, they insist that rules will be maintained ‘under revision’. 

Minister for disability people, work and health, Chloe Smith, said that the seven-day current isolation period was the right length. 

The Prime Minister — who was accused of dodging the Omicron crisis by spending the Christmas period in his country bolthole Chequers — was not asked about whether he intended to adapt the stay-at-home rules during a visit to a vaccination centre in Milton Keynes today. 

Today, in Scotland Ms Sturgeon stated that no amendments would be made until the next week to the 10-day Covid isolation rules.

“I stated last week that I was weighing the potential risks and benefits to shortening the isolation time for index cases as well as potentially lessening the requirement for all household contact to isolate after a positive result,” she explained.

“These are balanced judgements, and we’re carefully considering current infections trends. 

“However, we expect to make decisions within the week. Any changes will take effect on the 5th of January.” 

The UK has supported further reductions of Covid isolation times. Sir John Bell (a leading immunologist in the world and former Government advisor) said yesterday that he supports a similar move in America to Britain. However, people should still report negative lateral flows. 

Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia called for strict isolation rules being scrapped’sooner than later. 

But even current reductions in Covid isolation times are failing to be implemented as it emerged today that Test & Trace is still telling people to quarantine for 10 full days despite the updated advice reducing this to seven.

David Jones, a former Tory minister, hit out at the failure to communicate the change, telling the Telegraph: ‘This seems a clear case of officials trying to undermine decisions made by democratically accountable ministers.

“The rules were changed after thorough consideration of all the evidence. The responsibility of officials now lies with them to put in place those changes. They need to get rid of the “Whitehall knows best” mentality.

William Wragg (Tory Chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee), which supervises the Civil Service’s work, stated: “The UK Health Security Agency doesn’t govern the country and should, as such, follow all instructions from ministers. 

“The updated policy on testing and releases has been published and should be made available to the public.  

Chloe Smith, minister for disabled people, health and work, said the current seven-day isolation span was the 'right' length of time

Minister for disability people, work and health, Chloe Smith said that the seven-day current isolation period was the “right” length.

American officials canceled Monday’s order that required infected people to isolate themselves for 10 days. They can now leave at half-way, provided they don’t have any symptoms, and they are able to wear masks around other people for five more days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bosses, insisted that the decision was based on science and maintained society’s functioning.   

Leading experts called immediately for the UK’s recognition of Omicron. This is a virus that has decimated businesses and forced hundreds of thousands of workers to return home. 

Omicron left public services in an ‘infamy’ according to unions. Bin collections in London are under threat, recycling centers have closed and bin collections in London have been threatened. Flights and trains have also been cancelled.

The president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Lord Bilimoria, pointed out that South Africa — where Omicron was first detected — had dropped the requirement to self-isolate altogether for those who are asymptomatic. 

Shadow work secretary Jonathan Ashworth, who is also pensions secretary, said that the Government shouldn’t ‘hurry into’ cutting Covid isolation time.

Sky News asked Mr. Whitty about his calls to shorten the five-day isolation period. His response was that they should listen to the leading medical scientists Chris Whitty (and Patrick Vallance) and that there is no opinion from them.

He continued, “Let’s see what the experts have to say before jumping in.”

Ashworth stated that politicians should listen to scientists.

Matthew Taylor is the Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation. He stated that’staff absenteeism is a big problem for the NHS Right Now’, in addition to about 100,000 existing vacancies.

He was asked by BBC Radio 4’s Today if the Covid self-isolation time should be reduced from five to seven days in order to allow more employees to work.

“But, it is important to recognize that there are risks to everything that we do. If we reduce the time to five days, that would be based upon very clear evidence that does not increase the risk of infection.

The evidence is not there yet, he said. Omicron was an innovative variant. There had also been an increase in hospital admissions.

Officials at the CDC stated that the change in guidance was necessary to keep up with increasing evidence that the most severe symptoms are in the first and third days.

A recent increase in Covid infections due to the Omicron variant was another factor driving this decision.

Research suggests that Omicron could cause milder diseases than the earlier coronavirus versions. 

Experts warn that the number of infected people could make it impossible for hospitals and airlines to remain open due to the high rate of infection.

Rochelle Walensky, the director of CDC warned last night that Omicron infections are imminent.

“Not all cases will be severe,” she said. Many of these cases will be mild.

“We want to be sure that there’s a safe way for society to continue working while we follow the science,”

According to the CDC, people who experience symptoms while in isolation or during quarantining should stay home.

The agency relaxed rules last week that required health workers to be off work for a minimum of 10 days after obtaining a positive test.

According to the new guidelines, workers can return to work within seven days of testing negative for symptoms.

According to the agency, isolation times could be reduced by up to five days or even less in severe cases of staff shortages.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data showed 129,471 people tested positive in England over the last 24 hours, up 43 per cent on last week's figure of 90,629 ¿ which included case numbers for the other home nations as well

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data showed 129,471 people tested positive in England over the last 24 hours, up 43 per cent on last week’s figure of 90,629 — which included case numbers for the other home nations as well

The daily death figures were also affected by reporting blips over the festive period, confusing the true state of the current Covid outbreak

Reporting blips in the Christmas period also affected daily death statistics, confusing the real state of current Covid outbreak

Ministers are thought to be watching admissions in Omicron hotspot London closely, with a breach of 400 expected to trigger further restrictions nationwide. The latest data shows 374 people were admitted to the capital on Boxing Day, up 73 per cent on the week before

According to reports, ministers will be closely monitoring Omicron London admissions. Any breach exceeding 400 is likely to result in further national restrictions. Boxing Day data showed that 374 individuals were admitted into the capital, up 73% from the previous week.

UK Government statistics show how the number of Covid tests being conducted has reached 1.5m a day, with the number of swabs carried out having increased massively since Omicron first emerged

According to UK Government statistics, 1.5 million Covid tests are performed each day. The number of swabs has increased dramatically since Omicron was first created.

Ministers have already squeezed the isolation period to seven days, providing Covid sufferers test negative twice at the end of their week of quarantine. But Sir John Bell (pictured), an immunologist who has advised the Government on Covid, said Britain could go even further and replicate the US by relying on lateral flow tests

And Professor Paul Hunter (pictured), an infectious disease expert from the University of East Anglia, said eventually Covid-infected people need to be allowed to 'go about their normal lives' as they would with a cold

Ministers reduced the period of isolation from seven to one week, ensuring that Covid victims test negative two times at the conclusion of the quarantine. Sir John Bell, an immunologist and advisor to the Government regarding Covid said that Britain could even go further by replicating the US through lateral flow tests.

Ministers will not impose restrictions on Omicron in the region. 

According to reports, ministers have rejected regional lockdowns for Omicron coronavirus variant control. This could mean that Britain might pay the cost of some Londoners being not jabbled.

According to The Times, a return to regional restrictions such as tiers, which are credited for slowing down the virus, but failed to stop a third nationwide lockdown, will not be allowed.

According to a government source, the newspaper was not informed that they were considering regional restrictions. This isn’t on the table.

A source stated that it was difficult for people understand different rules due to regional curbs. The country should have one set of rules that is understood by everyone.

This could lead to regulations being placed on areas of the UK that have comparatively few hospital admissions. It could also be applied to London and other parts of the UK. The reason for this is because there’s a delay between getting infected with the virus and falling seriously ill.

According to the latest statistics, 374 patients were taken to the capital’s hospitals on Boxing Day. This is close enough that it could be triggered by a government intervention.

London is also home to the highest vaccination rates in the country. This makes it vulnerable to an increase in serious infections.

The Rule Of Six is one of the limitations that might be reinstated. It limits how many people a person can have sex with.

Yesterday, health leaders warned that staff shortages in the NHS are more serious than increasing coronavirus cases.

Omicron is rapidly spreading and causing thousands of doctors and nurses to have to isolate themselves every day.

According to Dr David Nicholl of the Doctors’ Association, the increasing number of absentees is ‘our most serious concern’ for the coming weeks.

Worst-case scenario modelling projected up to 40 per cent of NHS staff in London — the UK’s Omicron hotspot — could be off each day.

Before the outbreak, hospitals had cancelled routine operations. This mirrors the worst days of last year’s pandemic. And A&E bosses have warned the crisis may leave doctors with no option but to focus on treating the most severely ill patients.

However, the absence of staff could create more chaos in the already chaotic health system. Frontline doctors claim that it is already functioning on life support.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told BBC Breakfast that there has been a marked increase in staff absenteeism.

“And quite a number of our chief executive are saying they believe that this is probably going to become a larger problem and a greater challenge…than the amount of people who come in need of treatment for Covid.

“So, what we are seeing in hospitals is that we are now having to redeploy personnel to fill in the gap left by Covid-related absentees in essential and critical services.

Ministers decided against regional lockdowns for Omicron, so that everyone in Britain would not have to pay for Londoners being jabbled.

According to The Times, a return to regional restrictions such as tiers, which are credited for slowing down the virus, but failed to stop a third nationwide lockdown, will not be allowed.

According to a government source, the newspaper was not informed that they were considering regional restrictions. This isn’t on the table.

A source stated that it was difficult for people understand different rules due to regional curbs. The country should have one set of rules that is understood by everyone.

This could lead to regulations being placed on areas of the UK that have comparatively few hospital admissions. It could also be applied to London and other parts of the UK. The reason for this is because there’s a delay between getting infected with the virus and falling seriously ill.

According to the latest statistics, 374 patients were taken to the capital’s hospitals on Boxing Day. This is close enough that it could be triggered by a government intervention.

London is also home to the highest vaccination rates in the country. This makes it vulnerable to an increase in serious infections.

The Rule Of Six is one of the limitations that might be reinstated. It limits how many people a person can have sex with.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data shows Omicron now makes up 92 per cent of all cases in England. Graph shows: The proportion of cases likely to be Omicron (purple) compared to other variants including Delta (light green) over time

UK Health Security Agency data has shown that Omicron is now responsible for 92% percent of England’s cases. Graph: This graph shows the proportion of Omicron cases (purple), compared with other variants such as Delta (light-green) and over time

Researchers at the Sanger Institute in the UK, which is the nation’s most important variant-tracking laboratory, compiled data showing how England changed from being the dominant country within weeks to detecting the very first cases of this lineage.

Up to 40 per cent of patients hospitalised with the Omicron variant are unvaccinated, according to the UKHSA. The figure does not mean that the current vaccines don't work, even though the majority of hospitalised patients were jabbed. Instead, it offers even more evidence of how effective jabs are ¿ even in the face of Omicron. Britain has vaccinated the vast majority of eligible over-18s, meaning people who have been vaccinated make up a much bigger proportion of the population. Separate UKHSA data (taken from in November and shown in the graph) proving how well the vaccines work shows unvaccinated adults are up to eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital than people given two doses

According to UKHSA, up to 40% of Omicron-related patients are not vaccinated. This doesn’t mean that current vaccines do not work. However, the vast majority of patients who were hospitalized had their jabs administered. Instead, it offers even more evidence of how effective jabs are — even in the face of Omicron. The vast majority of over-18s eligible in Britain have been vaccinated. This means that people who were vaccinated are a larger proportion of the total population. A separate UKHSA graph illustrating how vaccines work has been created. The data shows that unvaccinated adults are 8 times more likely be admitted to the hospital than individuals who received two doses.

UK vs. US: How do the Covid isolation Rules differ 

UK:

The current quarantine and isolation regulations in Britain vary based on where you’re from and how you were vaccinated.

England currently requires that fully-vaccinated adults only isolate after they test positive for the virus.

If you have symptoms or you test positive for PCR, the rules state:

  • When you are positive, the clock begins.
  • A person infected can be freed from isolation within 7 days, provided they’ve tested positive on both a lateral flow and positive test.
  • Before the sixth day of isolation, you should take the first test.

The same rules are applicable to unvaccinated household members.

Although vaccinated individuals are legally not allowed to keep them in quarantine, they should still test each day for at least seven days. 

These rules may be slightly different in the UK, but they are generally similar.  

US:  

People who have been infected should be isolated. The rules are applicable to all people, regardless of whether they are fully or partially vaccinated.

It is said:

  • When you are positive, the clock begins.
  • Infected persons should be kept in isolation for 5 days instead of 10.
  • You can resume your normal activities after five days if there are no signs or symptoms. But you need to wear a mask for at least five more consecutive days.
  • If your symptoms continue to persist even after you have stopped taking isolating medication for five days, return home and wear a mask every day for five more days.

People who have been in close proximity to an infected individual but are not yet infected should follow Quarantine rules.

Once someone has been alerted they could have been affected by the virus, their clock will start.

Previously the CDC stated that anyone who had not been fully vaccinated, or came into close contact in any way with an infected individual should be kept away from home for at minimum 10 days.

The agency has now stated that people who have had booster shots may be allowed to avoid quarantine by wearing masks at all times for at least 10 consecutive days.

This is a significant change. Previously, people who were fully vaccinated — which the CDC has defined as having two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — could be exempt from quarantine.

People who received their booster shots and did not get the initial shot are now in the exact same situation. After five days, they can be released from quarantine if they don’t wear any masks. 

DAILY MAIL: UK to bounce back with a cut in house arrest

Although the country was lifted by removing Covid restrictions on New Year’s Eve for England, it became clear to the PM that curbs may still be in place next month in the event of a wild outbreak.

It would indicate if the Omicron waves began to put unsustainable pressure on hospitals.

Let’s forget about the issues surrounding whether an overwhelmingly vaccinated populace should be treating the cash-guzzling NHS like a sick patient.

However, it would not be surprising if the institution was forced to take oppressive measures in order to stop it from sinking.

However, the prospect of a miserable future is made worse by overly restrictive Government rules that force anyone who has tested positive for Covid to work seven days.

With 5 per cent of health care staff currently in purdah – even if no longer infectious – the NHS faces meltdown.

With severe consequences, staff absenteeism poses a more serious threat to patient health than infection. Treatments and diagnoses delayed, operations cancelled – consigning millions to pain and anguish.

This mandatory house arrest does not only cause havoc to the health system.

Factory shutters are being ripped down by staff shortages. There are serious disruptions to emergency services, supply chains, and trains.

Instead of helping pandemic-pummelled Britain get back on its feet, workers remain stuck at home.

Ministers should relax restrictions to solve this problem, which has confounded echoes from the “pingdemic”.

There are a lot of good signals that support this plan of action. Expert scientists claim that the virus is not getting worse than a common flu.

Covid patients often stay longer in hospital because they have other medical reasons. The number of admissions is not increasing rapidly. Most severely ill patients aren’t being jabbed.

The paper supported the reduction of quarantine from ten to seven day last week. Boris Johnson needs to follow America’s example and make it five days for patients who have fully recovered. It would be a blatant act of self-harm to not do this.

As post-Brexit Britain recovers from the pandemic, it is expected that our economy will outperform the rest of G7 in the next year. It will enable us to repay the massive debts we incurred during the pandemic.

If the PM retreats to the cave of caution, and does not address the self-isolation crises, then the country will grind to an unsustainable and crippling halt.