Self-isolation rules change in England and Northern Ireland but calls remain for test to release

16 August 2021 by
Self-isolation rules change in England and Northern Ireland but calls remain for test to release

Changes to self-isolation rules in England and Northern Ireland that come into force today are hoped to lessen the impact of the ‘pingdemic' on hospitality businesses.

From today, under-18s and people who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to stay at home for 10 days if they have close contact with a positive coronavirus case. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible. People of all ages will still be required to isolate if they test positive.

In Northern Ireland, those identified as close contacts are advised to take two PCR tests on days two and eight.

Similar changes to self-isolation rules were implemented in Wales and Scotland earlier this month.

The NHS Covid-19 app was also tweaked following concerns that too many people were being told to self-isolate. It will now ‘ping' close contacts from two days prior, rather than five.

Hospitality businesses have been experiencing severe staff shortages, with many forced to close or reduce trading hours due to team members being told to stay at home by the NHS Test and Trace app, despite testing negative.

However, anyone getting their second vaccine just before or after 16 August will need to wait two weeks before they are subject to the new rules. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has been calling for the introduction of a ‘test to remain' or ‘test to release' scheme as soon as possible to allow people to continue working if they test negative, regardless of vaccination status, as around 60% of the sector's staff are aged between 15 and 34 and the vast majority are not expected to have had the opportunity to receive both jabs yet.

Photo: Peter Titmuss/

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