It has been announced that people with COVID-19 in England can stop self-isolating up to three days early if they test negative twice.
The self-isolation period will be cut from 10 days to seven for those who can produce negative Lateral Flow Test results on both day six and their final day of quarantine, and when making the announcement, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the move has been informed by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), and is being taken to “minimise disruption” caused by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
He did add that those leaving quarantine after day seven should “continue to remain cautious”.
Under the previous rule, people had to self-isolate for 10 full days if they tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The change to the required self-isolation period comes amid a spike in cases caused by the new variant – which is believed to have created staff shortages for businesses, health services – including NHS, social care, and other frontline services – and rail services.
The health secretary said the move to shorten the self-isolation period was “a very sensible, balanced and proportionate step” to take.
The new self-isolation guidance being introduced can be used by people who are isolating after testing positive for COVID, regardless of their vaccination status – but, as is currently the case, those who are not double jabbed will still have to isolate for the full 10 days if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
Health officials have said that People should not end their isolation early if they are still experiencing symptoms.
On top of that, just as the Health Secretary mentioned, health officials are strongly advising people ending their isolation period on day seven to limit contact with vulnerable people, not to visit crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, and to work from home if they can.
Announcing the rule change, 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.
“Of course, anyone who leaves after day seven under this new procedure should continue to remain cautious.”
The changes to this self-isolation come after the isolation period was reduced from 14 days to 10 this time last year as the Alpha variant spread rapidly through parts of the UK.
Mandatory isolation was dropped for vaccinated close contacts of a positive case during the Delta wave this year.
But that has now been replaced with daily Lateral Flow Testing.
Currently, the government is under increasing pressure from scientists to make a decision on further restrictions to slow the spread of Omicron – but last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed he will not introduce any further COVID restrictions in England before Christmas.
He did, however, warn that the situation remains “finely balanced” ahead of the New Year.
Featured Image – iStockPhoto
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”