The Covid self-isolation period will be cut to five days from seven, the Health Secretary has confirmed.

Sajid Javid addressed MPs in the House of Commons that UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) data showed “that around two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five”.

Mr Javid added: “After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.

The move comes after increased pressure for the Government to fall in line with Covid rules in the United States, where the isolation period has been cut to five days.

The changes are likely to be popular with Conservatives who have called for further easing of the restrictions and will also help address staff shortages especially in the public services by allowing people to return to work earlier.

When do the new Covid isolation rules come into effect?

The new Covid isolation rules come into effect from Monday, January 17.

The current rules, in place until January 17, require people to isolate for at least six full days from the point at which they had symptoms or received a positive test (whichever is first) in line with the previous UK Health Security Agency guidance.

You can leave self-isolation after two negative lateral flow test results on days six and seven and then stop self-isolation on day seven.

St Helens Star: Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Credit: PAHealth Secretary Sajid Javid. Credit: PA

What type of Covid test is required?

Under the new isolation rules, you should take a lateral flow test on both days five and six. 

If you test negative on these two consecutive days, you can leave isolation on day six.

What happens if you test positive on day five or six?

If you test positive on either day, you will be required to stay in isolation.

You should continue to isolate until you get two negative results over two consecutive days.