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France cuts Covid isolation period to five days for double-vaccinated adults as PM faces pressure

France cuts Covid isolation period to five days for double-vaccinated adults as Boris Johnson faces pressure to do the same

  • Isolation cut for those who are double-vaccinated and produce a negative test
  • In England, the number of NHS staff off sick or isolating continues to rocket
  • The number of NHS workers staying at home for Covid reasons has doubled










France yesterday became the latest country to introduce a five-day isolation period for those with Covid, as pressure grew on UK ministers to follow suit.

Despite cases surging in Europe, French authorities cut the isolation period from ten days to five for those who are double-vaccinated and produce a negative test.

It came as anti-lockdown protests in Amsterdam turned violent. Demonstrators were mauled by police dogs and hit with batons by officers who were trying to disband a march yesterday.

While England’s quarantine rules remain in place – negative tests on days six and seven mean you can leave the house – the number of NHS staff off sick or isolating continues to rocket.

France yesterday became the latest country to introduce a five-day isolation period for those with Covid, as pressure grew on UK ministers to follow suit

France yesterday became the latest country to introduce a five-day isolation period for those with Covid, as pressure grew on UK ministers to follow suit

In recent days the number of NHS workers staying at home for Covid reasons has doubled.

NHS figures show that on December 12, NHS England recorded 12,240 staff absent due to Covid sickness or self-isolation. 

Two weeks later, on December 26, this had doubled to 24,632, and by New Year’s Eve it had doubled again to almost 50,000 – accounting for nearly half of all staff absences, The Sunday Times reported.

Chris Hopson, chairman of NHS Providers, said staff absences were having a greater impact than during last January’s Covid wave. 

He tweeted: ‘Staff flat out, especially given level of staff absences. We will need to ask them to perform flexible heroics again if hospital Covid numbers continue to rise. We can’t keep doing this.’

America was the first country to shorten the isolation period, followed by Greece and France.

It came as anti-lockdown protests in Amsterdam turned violent. Demonstrators were mauled by police dogs and hit with batons by officers who were trying to disband a march yesterday

It came as anti-lockdown protests in Amsterdam turned violent. Demonstrators were mauled by police dogs and hit with batons by officers who were trying to disband a march yesterday

Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Zoe Covid Study at King’s College London, has described the five-day period as ‘sensible’ as long as the individual has had two negative lateral flow tests.

‘A reduction in isolation days would help many frontline services by allowing low-risk staff to go into work and avoid people staying home unnecessarily,’ Professor Spector said.

But allowing people to stop isolating five days after they experience Covid symptoms could actually spread the virus and worsen NHS staff shortages, the UK Health Security Agency said.

It said that between 10 and 30 per cent of people would still be infectious after five days, compared with 5 per cent under the seven-day rule.

Health minister Ed Argar said the Government had not yet received scientific advice on cutting the isolation period. 



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