Government refuses to bring forward self-isolation exemption for double-jabbed in England

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The UK government has said it will not bring forward the date on which fully vaccinated adults in England will no longer have to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone with coronavirus, following calls from Labour to do so.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said ministers should bring quarantine requirements in line with Wales which, on Thursday, confirmed that the rule change would take place there on 7 August.

In England, double-jabbed people will no longer be told to self-isolate from 16 August - nine days after the revised Wales date.

Downing Street said this date would not be moving forwards as the extra time allowed for more vaccinations to take place.

"Waiting until 16 August to introduce an exemption from self-isolation for fully vaccinated contacts gives time for more people to be fully vaccinated," a UK government spokesperson said.

"Introducing daily contact testing and the critical worker self-isolation scheme in the meantime for workers in these critical sectors will help to minimise any disruption caused by cases in the coming weeks, while helping ensure staff are not put at risk."

But Sir Keir said England's timeline should be moved forwards.

"This has been a summer of chaos for British businesses and British families," the Labour leader said in a statement.

"The Tory government has never been able to explain the logic of their self-isolation rules and has just repeated the same mistakes over and over again.

"While the British public have been trying to do the right thing, we saw this government's instincts when Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak tried to avoid the isolation millions have had to endure.

"The government's slapdash approach to this global pandemic is crippling our economy and creating real problems for businesses and families alike. Welsh Labour has shown what can be done and it's time for the Tories to do the same."

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford made the announcement to bring the isolation exemption forwards to 7 August on Thursday.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms will still have to isolate for 10 days.

And individuals identified as close contacts of positive cases will be advised to take a PCR test on day two and day eight after being notified regardless of vaccination status.

The change will happen on the same day the country is expected to move to alert level zero - which will see the majority of remaining coronavirus restrictions lifted.

Scotland is also expected to remove the need for fully vaccinated people to isolate on 9 August - a week before England.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced calls to bring the date to ease isolation forwards due to the so-called 'pingdemic', which has seen many people being told to quarantine in the last month.

Some 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the NHS COVID-19 app last week telling them they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

But the PM has said the 16 August date is "nailed on".

Some frontline workers, including those in the food production industry, emergency services, border force and waste collection, have already been made exempt from the policy.

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