Self-isolation period reduced
People who test positive for Covid-19 will be able to leave self-isolation after five full days if they have two negative lateral flow tests, Health Minister Eluned Morgan today confirmed.
The two consecutive negative lateral flow tests must be taken on days five and six of the isolation period.
The changes are being made after a thorough examination of the evidence from Public Health Wales and bring Wales into line with changes made elsewhere in the UK.
They will come into effect from 28 January, at the same time as Wales is expected to complete the move to alert level zero.
A shorter self-isolation period will support public services and businesses by reducing pressures on the workforce through Covid-related staff absences.
Financial support through the Self-Isolation Support Scheme which will return to the original payment rate of £500 in recognition of the shorter isolation period. People who need support with essentials such as shopping and pharmacy goods will be able to access help through their local authority and voluntary organisations.
Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said:
“Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways of preventing the onward spread of this virus and disrupting its transmission. But self-isolating for long periods can have a negative impact on our mental health and can be damaging for our public services and the wider economy.
“After carefully reviewing all the available evidence, we believe that testing on days five and six together with five full days of isolation will have the same protective effect as a 10-day isolation period.
“But it is really important everyone self-isolates and uses lateral flow tests in the way advised to ensure they protect others from the risk of infection.
“The response from the public has been outstanding in Wales throughout the pandemic and we want to thank everyone for working with us to keep Wales safe.
“The booster jab has lessened the likelihood of severe cases of the virus and hospitalisation so I encourage anyone who is yet to have their vaccine to take up the offer.”
If a person is currently self-isolating as a positive case, or tests positive for Covid-19, they must self-isolate for five full days and should take a lateral flow test on day five and another test 24 hours later on day six.
If both results are negative, it is likely they are not infectious and can stop isolating.
But anyone who tests positive on either day five or day six must continue to self-isolate until they have two negative tests taken 24 hours apart or until day 10, whichever comes first.
This change reflects the latest evidence from Public Health Wales. Guidance on self-isolation for those working in more sensitive areas such as health and care will issue shortly.
Notes to editors
The first full day of isolation is the day after the onset of symptoms or the day after the date of test if a person has no symptoms.