Covid news: The US cuts isolation time for asymptomatic patients – what are the UK rules?

Covid-19: Javid confirms 7 day isolation with negative test result

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US health officials have cut the isolation time by half for asymptomatic patients. This new guidance follows the US recording more than 200,000 daily cases of Omicron over the past two days.

The recommended isolation time has been halved from 10 to five days in the US.

This shortened isolation only applies to people with asymptomatic infection.

However, The Centers for Disease Control said the asymptomatic patients leaving isolation must wear a mask around others for the following five days.

This updated guidance comes after the US has experienced a surge in the cases, recording more than 200,000 Omicron infections.

The Centers for Disease Control explained that the reason for the cut in the isolation period is because most transmissions happen in the two days before and three days after developing symptoms.

The US is hoping this new rule will ease disruptions caused by staff shortages.

The surge in cases has been caused by the Omicron variant as this is now the prevalent strain in the US.

Even though preliminary evidence suggests the new variant is milder, Omicron is spreading very fast.

The rising infection has put pressure on different industries across the country, including air travel.

This resulted in thousands of flights being cancelled during Christmas.

However, the change in isolation rules was “motivated by science”, according to the The Centers for Disease Control.

The centre’s director Dr Rochelle Walensky explained the new guidance “balances what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses”.

What are the isolation rules in the UK?

The UK had cut the isolation last week as well, shortening the recommended 10 days to seven.

This applies to those who start testing negative on lateral flow tests for two consecutive days.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid had announced this updated guidance last week which only applies under the condition of receiving negative test results on days six and seven of your isolation.

The first lateral flow test should not be taken before the sixth day, the Government explains.


There’s no need to get a PCR test as the lateral flow tests are enough to cut your isolation short.

This change was made to “reduce the disruption to people’s everyday lives”.

Similarly to the US, the new guidance was introduced amid the Omicron variant surge.

The latest Government data has reported 159,932 Omicron cases recorded for yesterday.



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