UK cuts self-isolation period to 10 days for domestic contacts, international arrivals

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would cut the self-isolation period for COVID-19 to 10 days from 14, in a change which will apply to both those presumed to have been in contact someone with the virus within the country, and those arriving from abroad.

The shorter self-isolation period will begin from Dec. 14 and apply in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, a government statement said. It already applies in Wales.

“After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days,” said the United Kingdom’s four Chief Medical Officers in the statement.

Cutting the isolation time will help people return to work and school sooner, helping the economy recovery, while international travel should benefit from the looser rules, helping cash-strapped airlines.

The 10-day quarantine countdown begins on the day after exposure, a test or the start of symptoms, the statement said, with NHS Test and Trace, the organisation responsible for contacting people thought to have been in contact with the virus, due to give out the new guidance on Monday.

Most major travel destinations for Britons, such as France, Spain and the United States are not on Britain’s safe travel corridor list, meaning that those arriving from those countries have to quarantine.

The new guidance brings the rules for potential contacts of the virus into line with the self-isolation requirements for those who receive a positive test.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Michael Holden

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