People who are double-jabbed and have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid will not have to self-isolate as of Monday, it has been confirmed.
The DHSC confirmed the change will take place from next week in what will hopefully end the so-called pingdemic for the majority of the adult population -–75 per cent of whom have now received both doses of the vaccine.
The legal requirement to isolate if identified as a close contact of a positive case in England will also end for those under the age of 18, the department confirmed. The move will help end the disruption to education that pupils have endured over the past year and a half.
Instead, those who are doubled-jabbed and those under 18 who have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive will be advised to take a PCR test.
There will be no legal requirement to self-isolate while awaiting the results, but anyone who does test positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, regardless of how many vaccines they have received or their age.
Those who develop Covid-like symptoms should get a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive the result.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said two doses of the vaccine has “tipped the odds in our favour and allowed us to safely reclaim our lost freedoms”.
“From Monday we can take another huge step back towards our normal lives by removing self-isolation requirements for double-jabbed people who are contacts of people with Covid-19. Double jabbed people who test positive will still need to self-isolate.
“Vaccines are what will bring this pandemic to an end – the wall of defence provided by the rollout is allowing us to get even closer to normal life. If you haven’t already, please make sure you come forward for your jab at the earliest opportunity.”
As of Wednesday, there were 29,612 new positive coronavirus cases, up from 23,510 on Tuesday.
There were 104 deaths reported on Wednesday, down from 146 on the previous day.
The most recent data from Public Health England and Cambridge University shows that around 60,000 deaths, 22 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations have been prevented by the coronavirus vaccines.
Those who are double-jabbed will have had to have received their second vaccine at least two weeks before coming into contact with anyone who has tested positive.
The vaccine must also have been administered as part of the UK’s vaccination programme and be certified by the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The changes to the self-isolation policy will be reflected in the NHS Covid app, which will be updated from Monday to enable users to confirm whether they are double-jabbed or under 18 and do not need to self-isolate.
As of next Monday, school bubbles for all pupils under 18 will also be scrapped, along with social distancing measures and staggered start and finish times.
However, two tests should be taken on site for pupils returning to school or college gates, followed by two tests a week at home.
For health and care workers, those who are double vaccinated and identified as close contacts will need to have a negative PCR test to go to work and will have to take 10 rapid lateral flow tests for 10 days on their return.
Those working with the clinically extremely vulnerable will need a risk assessment before returning to work.