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Health care workers must be exempt from reduced COVID-19 self-isolation period in England

RCN says cutting self-isolation to five days could increase the risk of transmission to staff and patients.

LTF test

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced in the Commons today (13 January) that the isolation period for people who test positive for COVID-19 will be cut to five days, from seven.

From Monday, people will be able to leave isolation from the start of day six after two negative tests. However, the RCN warns this will put patients at risk.

RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Pat Cullen said: “By the government’s own estimate, almost a third of individuals are still infectious five days after symptoms starting.

“Health and care workers will fall into that group in large numbers and there can be minimal room for error or complacency.

“Current and growing workforce pressures must not drive a reduction in isolation requirements in an unsafe way.

“This change could increase the risk of transmission to other staff and patients. When providing close care, including to those with compromised immune systems, nursing staff must be confident that they are not putting patients at risk.”