Pressure at No10 is rising to reduce Covid’s isolation time to five days

The government is under pressure to shorten the period of isolation of Covid in England, as it turned out that the health chiefs misled the ministers about the proposal.

Today, school leaders backed calls for a relaxation of the rules, revealing that classes with more than 100 children are taught in sports halls due to a shortage of teachers.

Dame Maura Regan, CEO of Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, said the schools would “welcome” the move to prevent further disruption to pupils’ education.

The support comes after business chiefs, MPs and even NHS leaders urged number 10 to look to follow the United States in reducing isolation to five days to ease pressure on the economy and vital services.

However, the move was ruled out by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which argued that the comparison with the US was not “similar”.

Quango wrongly told ministers that self-isolation began from the date of the positive test rather than from the first appearance of symptoms, as is the case in the United Kingdom.

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

It also turned out that the UKHSA had not yet modeled the safety or benefits of movong for five days because it mistakenly thought that the idea had no chance of being “accepted as a politician.”

Health Minister Sajid Javid was called angry by mistake last night, and Boris Johnson asked the UKHSA to look at the change again.

A prime minister’s spokesman said today with a slightly veiled grin on the health quango: “If it is possible to go further, we would like to act quickly.

“It simply came to our notice then. We definitely did not receive any further updated advice. “

Boris Johnson (pictured returning from his morning run today) asked the UKHSA to reconsider reducing isolation to five days.

Boris Johnson (pictured returning from his morning run today) asked the UKHSA to reconsider reducing isolation to five days.

UKHSA chief Jenny Harries, a former deputy chief physician who was honored with a royalty at the New Year's Eve.  In the past, she has been criticized for advocating decisions to test in trenches and follow up at the beginning of a pandemic, which was generally considered a failure.

UKHSA chief Jenny Harries, a former deputy chief physician who was honored with a royalty at the New Year’s Eve. In the past, she has been criticized for advocating decisions to test in trenches and follow up at the beginning of a pandemic, which was generally considered a failure.

The prime minister’s spokesman revealed the prospects for shortening the period of isolation after government ministers did not pass a positive test on Covid today.

But he said the government was “gathering the latest evidence.”

The number of covid cases is now declining in EVERY region except the Northeast

Covid cases are now declining in all regions except the Northeast, according to official figures, which add to the growing body of evidence that the worst of the Omikron outbreak may be behind us.

Statistics from the UK Health Security Agency show that rates in London – the first area to fall victim to a highly portable variant – began to fall before Christmas, raising hopes that the rest of the nation would soon follow.

Now Covid’s government data shows that cases are finally on their way down in seven of the other eight English regions, suggesting that the wave may have peaked in much of the country.

Experts hope that the Omicron crisis is starting to weaken naturally after reaching an “incredible” level last month.

However, there are fears that the promising trajectory may be reversed in the coming days due to the return of schools from the Christmas holidays, and the infections will then spread back among the age groups, as seen in previous waves.

Despite the confusion as to exactly where the country is on the epidemic, ministers are challenged to announce how they intend to live with the virus after nearly two years of an endless cycle of crippling restrictions.

Mortality in the last English wave has barely risen, and bad flu is currently hovering around half the year, according to the analysis. The number of critically ill patients in the hospital is still stagnating, although Omicron first began to spiral out of control a month ago.

“We want to keep it under control, make sure we have the right approach, you know we’ve moved from 10 to seven.” But what we absolutely don’t do is anticipate anything. ”

The move is also being pushed for by a number of other senior ministers, including Mr Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The spokesman was also forced to defend UKHSA chief Jenny Harries, a former deputy chief physician who was honored for the New Year’s Eve.

In the past, she has been criticized for defending decisions to test in a ditch and track contacts at the beginning of a pandemic, which was generally considered a failure.

Dame Maura told BBC Radio 4 Today that she would be in favor of shortening the isolation period.

She revealed that some schools were forced to join classes and cram up to 120 children into school halls because so many employees are out of isolation.

She said: ‚ÄúPersonally, I would welcome it, because I think the most important thing is that there are a lot of employees who don’t really have any symptoms, a lot of kids who don’t have any symptoms, and I think it’s important to get the staff back as soon as possible. . ‘

This is according to a survey by the NASUWT union, which found that almost half of the teachers were forced to cover colleagues who were out of work due to coronavirus because distance learning had reached the highest level since locking.

Dame Maura told Today that “one of the biggest challenges” for schools today is “effective supply coverage”.

She added: “I think the most important thing we need to remember is that although it is important for all children, it is especially important for those students who are actually facing the exams, and many of them have two, two and half a year of disruption and then a lack of quality teaching is actually a greater disruption for them. “

Boris Johnson said on Monday that ministers were considering reducing the self-isolation period from seven to five days for fully vaccinated people who tested positive in Covid, a health minister reportedly backed.

A number of Conservative MPs have criticized UKHSA for its misleading advice to ministers over isolation rules.

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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