The Prime Minister tells advisers to look at reducing isolation after the highest body admitted the publication of misleading councils

Last night, Boris Johnson pressured government scientists to approve further restrictions on Covid’s isolation after health chiefs admitted misleading ministers.

The Prime Minister asked the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) to re-examine whether the self-isolation period could not be reduced from seven days to five in order to alleviate the crippling staff shortages in the economy and public services.

In an extraordinary turnaround, UKHSA admitted yesterday that it had made misleading claims about the way British rules are compared to other countries.

The health quango argued that the comparison with the United States, where self-isolation had already been reduced to five days, was not “similar” because self-isolation began from the date of the positive test rather than from the first appearance of symptoms. as in the United Kingdom.

Last night, however, the agency admitted it was wrong and removed one of its main arguments against shortening self-isolation – leading to more than a million people being left out of the workplace.

Boris Johnson asked the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to reconsider whether the self-isolation period could not be reduced from seven days to five in order to alleviate the crippling staff shortages in the economy and public services.  Pictured Monday in his Uxbridge constituency

Boris Johnson asked the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to reconsider whether the self-isolation period could not be reduced from seven days to five in order to alleviate the crippling staff shortages in the economy and public services. Pictured Monday in his Uxbridge constituency

Ministers have repeatedly quoted false advice in recent days, explaining why the government is moving so slowly on the issue.

Health Minister Sajid Javid was said last night that he was angry with the mistake, while his advisers said he was “frustrated” by the agency’s mistake.

And it turned out that the UKHSA had not even investigated the case for a five-day postponement because it mistakenly thought the idea had little chance of being “accepted as a politician.”

Conservative MPs called for a public apology last night for the quango, led by former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries, who was honored for the New Year’s Eve.

Government sources said the prime minister was now trying to ‘change the conversation’ on the subject, but stressed that quarantine would only be abolished if scientists approved the move as safe.

The Daily Mail may reveal that a number of other senior ministers are also pushing for the move, including Mr Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

During a visit to the vaccination center yesterday, Mr Johnson said the government would continue to issue lateral flow tests “as long as they were important,” adding: “A similar argument can be made about the quarantine period – whether it should come from seven to five days. We need to look at science. “

Asked if he agreed with Education Minister Nadhi Zahawi that it would be useful to shorten the quarantine period, he said: “Yes, of course. We are watching this and acting according to science. “

In a January 1 blog post, the UKHSA said people “don’t compare what they like” when they looked for advice on self-isolation in the UK and US.

Although isolation in the UK begins with the appearance of the first symptoms, in the US it is recommended to isolate for five days once you have a positive test, “which may be several days after the first symptoms.”

Yesterday, Quango admitted that it was wrong. She said the US authorities had “clarified” their councils on January 4, but did not provide any explanation as to why their own councils remained unchanged for another six days.

Conservative MPs have called on Quango to make a public apology.

Health Minister Sajid Javid was reportedly angry at UKHSA’s mistake, and his advisers said he was “frustrated” by the agency’s mistake.

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “This is another example of the bad, exaggerated advice that ministers receive that is holding back the country.

“The difference between five and seven days is crucial for maintaining services in hospitals, schools and the economy.” Former Cabinet Secretary David Davis said: “This proves why scientific advisers need to be very careful in basing their advice on facts rather than pessimistic estimates.

“If one of our goals is to protect healthcare, sending people home unnecessarily doesn’t help patients or other healthcare professionals.

“We need to see tough data that justifies it on a firmer footing than their inaccurate claims over the past few weeks.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen called for an apology, adding: “This mistake has put the NHS and critical industries under strong pressure. It’s the kind of basic information politicians and the British public and employers would expect to be right. “

Speaking to the potential shortening of self-isolation, the prime minister said: “If we can go further, we would like to act quickly, but it must be based on the latest evidence and that work is still ongoing.

“We certainly haven’t received any more updated advice.”

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