Covid is becoming less disruptive in England - Duncan Crow

The battle with Covid-19 is not over, but our world-leading vaccinated programme is putting us in a good place where a more normal daily is happening.

This week, we’ve seen another step on the road to normality with the changes that came in on Monday around self-isolation.

The disruption of self-isolation will no longer be happening for those who are double jabbed (plus 14 days) or aged under 18, as they won’t be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case. Announced last month, this change is part of step 4 of the government’s Covid-19 roadmap. With over 75% of people having received both doses of the vaccine, this means the majority of adults will no longer need to self-isolate if they are contacts.

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These changes have been enabled as a result of the remarkable success of the UK’s vaccine programme, that’s seen over three quarters of UK adults double jabbed and us inching towards 90% of adults having had their first jab. The latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University indicates that around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations have been prevented by the vaccines.

The procedure now is that double-jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace, will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or by going to a test site.

As double-jabbed people identified as close contacts still have a risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other sensible precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with others, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

By next Monday, all 16 and 17 year-olds will have been offered their first jab. Cases remain at significant levels locally, so please come forward for vaccination if you haven’t already and for your 2nd jab as soon as the eight-week period after the first one ends.