Changes to rules on self-isolation will come into force on Friday for people in Wales who have tested positive for Covid.
If you have Covid you will be able to leave self-isolation after five full days if you have two consecutive negative lateral flow tests, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has confirmed.
The current minimum is seven days but the new rule will be in place from January 28, which is also the date the Welsh Government expects to move to alert level zero.
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The two negative lateral flows must be taken on days five and six of the isolation period. Anyone who tests positive on either day must continue to self-isolate until they have two negative tests taken 24 hours apart or until day 10, whichever comes first, in line with Public Health Wales advice.
The Welsh Government believes a shorter self-isolation period will ease pressure on public services and businesses struggling with staff absences.
Financial support through the Self-Isolation Support Scheme will drop from £750 to the previous rate of £500 “in recognition of the shorter isolation period”, said a Welsh Government spokesperson. People who need support with essentials such as shopping and pharmacy goods will be able to access help through their local authority and voluntary organisations.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways of preventing the onward spread of this virus and disrupting its transmission. But self-isolating for long periods can have a negative impact on our mental health and can be damaging for our public services and the wider economy.
“After carefully reviewing all the available evidence, we believe that testing on days five and six together with five full days of isolation will have the same protective effect as a 10-day isolation period. But it is really important everyone self-isolates and uses lateral flow tests in the way advised to ensure they protect others from the risk of infection.
“The response from the public has been outstanding in Wales throughout the pandemic and we want to thank everyone for working with us to keep Wales safe. The booster jab has lessened the likelihood of severe cases of the virus and hospitalisation so I encourage anyone who is yet to have their vaccine to take up the offer.”
The Welsh Government says guidance on self-isolation for those working in “more sensitive areas such as health and care” will be issued shortly.
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