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Ministers have faced mounting pressure to further reduce the period from seven days to help the economy and get staff back to work sooner. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We want to keep this under review, make sure we have the right approach.”
He added: “The Prime Minister hasn’t received formal advice either way yet. So, we’ll await that and then make a decision.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly among ministers keen on the economic benefits of reducing the period to five days, while Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has suggested the move could help ease work absences.
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Downing Street also insisted the PM had confidence in UK Health Security Agency boss Dr Jenny Harries, following confusion over guidance on self-isolation. It came after the health body backtracked on claims that Britain’s policy advising six full days of isolation was effectively just the same as America’s advice for five full days.
It had suggested the US started the “clock” on selfisolation only after a positive test, rather than onset of symptoms, so the period ends up being roughly the same.
It has now updated a blog post after the US CDC health protection agency clarified that the period starts from when symptoms appeared.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We want to keep this under review, make sure we have the right approach.”
The UKHSA said it still believed “the optimal approach at present” is that people stay in isolation until they get two negative lateral flow results on days six and seven.
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