To avoid a crippling economy, the ten-day covid isolation period for those who have caught it could be reduced to one week in a matter of days.

  • Ministers may reduce isolation of infected patients from 10 to 7 days 
  • At winter peak, 2 million people might be able to catch Omicron ultra-transmisible Omicron daily.
  • With so many isolationists, country could find itself in de facto lockdown

Covid-infected Britons may only have to stay at home for a week after catching the virus, as ministers consider reducing the current 10-day rule over concerns the economy won’t cope. 

Based on Government modeling, 2 million people may be caught by the Omicron, an ultra-transmisible Omicron, during peak winter. This could lead to a national lockdown, with many being isolated with mild illnesses, even though hospitals aren’t overcrowded. 

Sources claim that the new policy is “under consideration” and that Health Secretary Sajid Jamid is keen to speed up the isolating period as businesses and hospitals struggle with absent staff.

Experts were asked by him to assess whether it was possible to knock three days off this requirement in order for the change to be implemented within days.

It is likely that the change will be met by a daily requirement that those leaving their seven-day isolation take lateral flow tests every day.

Under the current rules, people must self-isolate for 10 days from when their Covid symptoms started — or from their positive test if they are asymptomatic.

However, more than half a billion Britons have tested positive over the past week. The infection rate is expected to continue rising in coming weeks with officials warning that there are 1 million new cases each day.

And a third of NHS staff in London, where mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident over the weekend due to Omicron’s impact on the city, could be stuck at home by January.

Experts in health, business leaders, and MPs said that the combination of the 10-day rule and case numbers could cause economic havoc by leaving bars, restaurants, and shops with too few customers and workers, while the emergency services will also become understaffed.  

Anyone who is infected with the virus must isolate for ten days after first developing symptoms or testing positive. But ministers are looking at cutting the requirement to seven days as experts say the move could be effective but daily tests should be introduced

Anybody infected by the virus should be isolated for at least ten days from the moment they become aware of symptoms. Experts say that ministers could reduce the period to just seven days. But, it is possible for Ministers to change the rule. Daily tests are recommended.

The number of confirmed cases of Omicron in England increased by 69 per cent on the previous day's total - up 9,427 to 23,168, figures from the UKHSA showed today

According to figures released by the UKHSA, Omicron cases in England rose 69% over the previous day. They went up from 9,427 to 23,168.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is thought to be eager to shorten the isolation timeframe as hospitals and businesses struggle due to absent workers. He has asked experts for urgent advice on whether knocking three days off the requirement is possible, in hopes of implementing the change within days

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary is believed to want to reduce the time it takes to isolate patients. Hospitals and businesses are struggling because of absent employees. Experts have been asked by Javid to assess whether it’s possible to knock three days off of the required time, with the goal of having the changes implemented within days. 

Data from Oxford University’s Pathogen Dynamics Group released in August shows up to 40 per cent of transmission occurs before symptoms emerge, with most happening in the two days before people fall ill. And people seem to be least infection on the last three days of their isolation

Data from Oxford University’s Pathogen Dynamics Group released in August shows up to 40 per cent of transmission occurs before symptoms emerge, with most happening in the two days before people fall ill. And people seem to be least infection on the last three days of their isolation

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Well, we will keep anything like that on the isolation period under review based on the latest clinical advice. 

‘We would update if that were to change.’

The Government’s scientific advisors have shown that it is possible to decrease the time of isolation without significant effects on infection rates. 

Neil Ferguson (Professor Lockdown), an epidemiologist from Imperial College London and whose Covid projections led to the first lockdown, supports this move.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday how he would feel about reducing quarantine to seven days, Professor Ferguson said: ‘All the modelling and analysis would suggest if it’s coupled with lateral-flow testing it’s not going to reduce the effectiveness of the measure that much.’ 

Tory MP Peter Bone backed a change, saying: ‘We need a more sophisticated policy that can help get people back to work as soon as possible.’

Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia was an expert on infectious diseases. He told the Telegraph Omicron transmission is most common within the first five day after catching it. Once that happens, the risk of infection drops.

The number of NHS staff in London absent due to Covid has more than doubled in four days and one in three of the workforce would be absent by New Year’s Eve if the growth rate continues.

Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing’s England director, said such a situation would be ‘catastrophic’.

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

What is the maximum time people can be infected?

Academics suggest that Britain’s Covid sentence for self-isolation could be reduced by half to only five days.

According to data, 98% of viral transmission happens before the person becomes ill or within 5 days. 

An infectious disease specialist from the University of St Andrews Dr Muge Cevik stated earlier in the year that the isolate period for cases could be shorter because most transmission occurs very early.

“Viral load rises rapidly, and people can become very infectious in the first days. 

For how long is Covid testing positive for?

These tests are best used to identify people with the highest infectiousness. They can be done in just 15 minutes. 

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

The kits work better than the gold-standard PCRs. Swabs are sent to laboratory to check for virus genetic material. 

They are more likely to not spot an infected person, and less likely they will give a positive outcome if they have already reached their maximum infectiousness.

The PCRs on the other side are very sensitive and can detect the presence of virus fragments even long after illness has passed.

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