Double-jabbed people in England and Northern Ireland will no longer have to isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 from Monday.
Under-18s will also no longer have to spend 10 days in quarantine in a step branded as ‘another step back towards normality’.
But people who test positive, have only had one dose or only had their second coronavirus jab in the last 14 days, will still have to self-isolate.
The rules, which already apply to Scotland and Wales, will reduce disruption from the ‘pingdemic’ – which saw hundreds of thousands of people isolating earlier this summer after coming into contact to a growing number of Covid-19 cases.
Instead of self-isolating, double jabbed people will now be advised to take a PCR test – but that will not be compulsory – and they will not have to isolate while waiting for the result.
But if they develop symptoms, the Government says they should then self-isolate and get a PCR test, and stay in isolation until the result comes back.
As double jabbed people identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limiting contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
People who test positive will still be legally required to self-isolate.
The rules are slightly different in Northern Ireland, where people who are close contacts of positive cases will no longer have to isolate for 10 days, but only as long as they test negative, have no symptoms and have had both jabs of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘The British public have played a vital role following self-isolation rules throughout the pandemic and sacrificing so much to help bring the virus under control.
‘The requirement for double-jabbed and under-18s who are contacts of people with Covid-19 has been removed as we cautiously take another step back towards normality, thanks to the phenomenal success of our vaccine rollout.
‘Vaccines are what will bring this pandemic to an end, with over 84,000 lives already saved and 23 million infections prevented.
‘Please come forward to receive your jab as soon as you can to protect yourself and the people around you.’
The change came into effect in Wales on August 7 when instead of instructing fully-vaccinated adults to isolate, contact tracers and advisers started providing people with advice and guidance about how to protect themselves and stay safe.
Members of the public in Wales are strongly advised not to visit hospitals and care homes for 10 days.
Everyone identified as a contact of a positive case in Wales will continue to be advised to have a PCR test on day two and day eight, whether they are fully vaccinated or not.
In Scotland, double-vaccinated adults and all children can avoid self-isolation as a close contact so long as they are symptomless and provide a negative PCR test.
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