Self-isolation will no longer be required for contacts of positive Covid cases under plans announced by the Government on Monday.
Ministers will say that the current system – which was criticised by the Government’s own advisers as “massively ineffective and hated” – will be dismantled nationwide in January, if pilot schemes succeed.
As well as ending the self-isolation system, it could form part of an exit strategy from tiered restrictions. Poor adherence to the current system of isolation – requiring people to stay home for 14 days – is one of the key drivers of infection rates, which has pushed areas into higher tiers. Officials hope that people will be more likely to comply with quick tests that free them from restrictions, than to adhere to two-week quarantines.
Tests will be rolled out for visitors to care homes, allowing family members to hug and hold hands. If that pilot scheme in 20 homes is successful, from next month every care home resident in the country will be allowed to have up to two visitors who can be tested twice a week.