People infected with Covid in England can now stop self-isolating up to three days early if they test negative twice.
You will now be able to end any quarantine after seven days instead of ten days by having a negative lateral flow result on day six and day seven.
Making the announcement, Sajid Javid said the move has been informed by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and that those leaving quarantine after day seven should “continue to remain cautious”.
Mr Javid said: “We want to reduce the disruption to peoples everyday lives caused by the pandemic so today we will be cutting the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven days for those people that take a lateral flow on day six and day seven and the result of both those tests are negative.
“This decision has been informed by the advice of our clinicians at the UKHSA who have looked at this very carefully and they are very comfortable that the protection provided by making this change – so that people can leave isolation after day seven as long as they have taken these two lateral flow tests and the results are negative – that the protection it provides is very similar to 10 days of isolation without tests.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid says that it will minimise disruption caused by the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus
He said the change was based on the latest guidance from health experts.
The change comes amid a spike in cases caused by the new Covid variant, which has created staff shortages for businesses, health services and rail services.
The new guidance can be used by people who are isolating after testing positive for Covid, regardless of their vaccination status.
But those who are not double-jabbed will still have to isolate for the full 10 days if they are a close contact of a positive case, as is currently the case.
People should not end their isolation early if they are still experiencing symptoms, officials said.
And people ending isolation on day seven are strongly advised to limit contact with vulnerable people, not visit crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, and work from home.