Covid isolation could finally be slashed to 5 days as Michael Gove piles pressure on PM

BRITS who catch Covid may only have to self-isolate for five days in future, Michael Gove declared today.

The senior Cabinet minister said the quarantine period "should" be shortened if scientists say it's "safe" to do so.


And he insisted the PM is keeping the current system in England "under review" with Britain now "getting ready to live with" the virus.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

The US has already cut self-isolation to five days, prompting calls for Britain to follow suit.

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Asked about a possible change to the rules today, Mr Gove said: "We always keep these things under review.

"We've already reduced the self-isolation period from 10 to seven days. If it's safe to reduce it further then we should.

"The most important thing is to ensure that we are we are in a position to protect the NHS and to protect public services.

"You have to balance a desire to make sure people on the front line are there doing the jobs they need to do but also not in a situation where they are further spreading infection, leading to even more people being off work."

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all set their own self-isolation rules.

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Currently vaccinated people in the UK have to quarantine for up to 10 days if they catch the virus.

Those who take two negative lateral flow tests on days 6 and 7 after their positive swab can end their isolation early.

Surging cases caused by the Omicron variant have forced millions of Brits into self-isolation and sparked mass workplace absences.

Public services including the NHS are current struggling with staff shortages because so many people are off.

Rishi Sunak has reportedly privately backed slashing self-isolation to five days to help solve the crisis.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi yesterday because the first senior minister to publicly suggest the change is on the cards.

And one government source told the Telegraph that 60% of Boris Johnson's cabinet are in favour of the move.

They include transport secretary Grant Shapps, trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

'Better times ahead'

Mr Gove said that there are "better times ahead" and that Britain is close to learning to live with Covid.

But he warned the country isn't "there yet" and that there will be "difficult weeks ahead" with Omicron.

The top Cabinet minister also ruled out scrapping free lateral flow tests until the current wave is under control.

He said the kits will remain without charge for "as long as we need them" to curb the spread of the virus.

Mr Gove said: "We are moving to a situation where it is possible to say we can live with Covid, and the pressure on the NHS and vital public services is abating.

"But it's absolutely vital to recognise that we are not there yet and there will be some difficult weeks ahead.

"And that is why we all need to continue to test, continue if we are positive to isolate, and continue broadly to support the NHS as it goes through a challenging period."

He also defended gloomy predictions that there would be 75,000 deaths from Omicron which scientists have now admitted were wrong.

The minister said that "nobody is setting out to scaremonger" and it would be "irresponsible" for the Government not to prepare for worst case scenarios.

His remarks come after Britain recorded a fifth daily drop in new cases with scientists saying there are signs Omicron is now peaking across the country.

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