The self-isolation period for people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus will be shortened from 14 to 10 days from today.
The change will also apply to people required to quarantine after returning from countries which are not on the travel corridor list.
The news was announced by the UK’s chief medical officers and will come into force in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from today. It already applies in Wales.
Care professionals should also note that the timings on the NHS test and trace app will not be updated until December 17.
Those who have been advised to isolate by the app before December 17 can leave isolation when their countdown timer says ‘three days’, but those who have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace must follow isolation guidance provided by contact tracers, the government said.
In a joint statement, the chief medical officers, including Professor Chris Whitty, said: “After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days.
“People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days.
“People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic.”
They added: “We urge everyone to self-isolate when appropriate, it will save lives.”