Welsh rules on self isolation for those who test positive for Covid-19 now differ to those in England
The 10-day self-isolation period for people who test positive for Covid-19 in England has been reduced to seven days from Wednesday.
Analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suggests that a 7-day isolation period alongside 2 negative lateral flow test results has nearly the same protective effect as a 10-day isolation period without LFD testing for people with COVID-19.
The move is aimed at relieving pressure on the NHS, supply chains and other services such as public transport which are experiencing staff shortages due to the high numbers of people testing positive in the Omicron wave.
The change is for vaccinated (two does) people only, there is no change to the guidance for unvaccinated contacts of positive COVID-19 cases, who are still required to self-isolate for 10 full days after their date of exposure to the virus.
The 10-day rule in Wales is to remain in place for the time being, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said in a statement to Senedd members on Thursday.
She said: “Members may be aware that in England from Wednesday 22 December, new guidance for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 sets out that those who receive negative LFD results on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – no longer have to self-isolate for the full 10 days.”
“At this time, there is no change to the 10 day self-isolation rule for positive cases in Wales. ”
The Health Minister said she has asked her officials to “put the systems in place to enable a change from the 5th January should the balance of harms change and a rise in the number of cases risk our ability to deliver critical services.”
Changes have however been made to the self-isolation requirements for close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.
Fully vaccinated adults, children aged 5-18 and vaccine clinical trial participants identified as a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 will not need to isolate.
Instead, they should take lateral flow tests for 7 days as a precautionary measure.
Advice for children under 5 is unchanged – they will not need to isolate and are not required to take a PCR test or do lateral flow tests.
Advice for unvaccinated close contacts remains the same – they are required to self-isolate for 10 days and advised to take PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 following their exposure to a positive case.
Ms Morgan said: “Over the past few weeks, we have taken swift action against the new Omicron variant through a series of measures to help keep Wales – and people in Wales safe.”
“On 3 December, the Welsh Government introduced Omicron-specific regulations to require any contacts of suspected or confirmed Omicron cases to self-isolate.”
“In responding to the pandemic, we have always tried to balance COVID and non-COVID Covid harms. As with all our responses to COVID-19, we vow only to keep regulations and restrictions in place only as long as they remain appropriate and proportionate.” She said.
“For the purpose of these regulations, fully vaccinated means someone who has received two doses of a MHRA regulated vaccine in the UK (at least 14 days before exposure). It does not include a booster vaccination at this stage.”
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