Covid: Government plans to scrap 10-day quarantine for fully-vaccinated people

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Matt Hancock has said he plans to scrap the requirement for people who have had two doses of the Covid jab and come into contact with an infected person to isolate for 10 days.

The Health Secretary said the approach is currently being piloted but will be introduced as soon as possible once clinicians have looked at the data.

Under the plan, the 10-day quarantine period could be axed in favour of daily lateral flow tests.

Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast the approach is being piloted "to check that that will be effective, but it is something that we’re working on".

He added: "We’re not ready to be able to take that step yet, but it’s something that I want to see and we will introduce, subject to clinical advice, as soon as it’s reasonable to do so."

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When asked whether the remaining restrictions are likely to be lifted before the new England road map date of July 19, Mr Hancock said experts will examine the figures shortly.

He said: "We are looking at the data, and we’ve said that we’ll take a specific look two weeks into the four-week delay that we had to put in place to get more people vaccinated, so we’ll do that.

"But I have every confidence that the more people get vaccinated, the easier it is (and) the safer it is to lift restrictions.

"We had to have the delay in order to get more people vaccinated, especially those second vaccines to protect people - we’re being careful, we’re being cautious."

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Mr Hancock added: "But I have a high degree of confidence that this vaccine is going to get us out of this, and the more people who come forward, the easier that will be."

He said more than a million second jabs for people over the age of 50 have been done in just 10 days.

"We are getting there," he said, before adding: "We’re not quite there yet but we’re getting there and you can see it in the data, you can see the protection that people are getting."

His comments come as more than one million Covid-19 jabs were booked in just two days after the NHS opened its vaccination programme to all remaining adults in England.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

A total of 1,008,472 appointments were arranged over Friday and Saturday through the booking service, NHS England said – an average of more than 21,000 every hour, or six every second.

The full figure is likely to be higher as it does not include appointments at local GP-led vaccination services or people getting the jab at walk-in centres.

The NHS has now administered around 62 million doses since Margaret Keenan became the first member of the public to get a jab on December 8.

Four in five adults have now received their first vaccination, according to NHS England figures – with three in five having both.

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Public Health England’s Covid-19 director Dr Susan Hopkins said on Sunday she hoped all people over 40 could get their vaccine before the full easing of lockdown restrictions planned for July 19.

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "It is fantastic to see so many young people coming forward to play their part, protecting themselves, their friends and their family – nearly nine million people in their twenties and thirties have now had their first dose."

Meanwhile, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it is "unlikely" Covid restrictions in England will be lifted before July 19.

He told ITV News he does not expect the two-week review to lead to an earlier relaxation of the current measures.

"I think we're very set on hitting the date, so we hit the 12 April - that went without a glitch. We also hit the 17 May, very disappointed to pause the roadmap today on 21st of June but we are very focused on the 19 July."

He added he "doesn't think there's any scope really to pull things forward" ahead of the 19 July for ending Covid lockdown restrictions.

Mr Johnson had originally set Monday for the end of all legal coronavirus restrictions under his road map to ease England’s lockdown, but delayed so-called Freedom Day until July 19 because of concerns over the rapidly-spreading Delta variant first identified in India.

He is also coming under pressure over border restrictions from backbench Conservative MPs as the Times reported that fewer than one in 200 travellers from amber list countries are testing positive.