In England, the time of self-isolation for persons who test positive for Covid-19 will be reduced to five full days, according to Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
After negative lateral flow tests on days five and six, patients will be free to leave isolation starting Monday.
The decision was hailed by ministers as a method to relieve personnel shortages in several areas, notably the NHS.
Back in December, the self-isolation time was reduced from ten to seven days after negative tests on days six and seven.
Mr Javid said that the country was “freest in Europe” and that it was “leading the world in how to live with Covid”
He said the self-isolation period was aimed at maximizing activity in the economy while “minimizing the risk of people leaving isolation”.
According to data from the UK Health Security Agency, two-thirds of positive cases were no longer contagious by day five.
People will be eligible to leave isolation “at the start of day six” if a second negative test is obtained.
The virus was “still with us and there are still likely to be difficult weeks ahead” the health minister said in the House of Commons, but there were positive signals in the statistics that cases were declining in London and the east of England – but climbing in other areas of the nation.
Two-thirds of positive cases were no longer infectious by day five, according to statistics from the UK Health Security Agency.
If a second negative test is achieved, they will be entitled to leave isolation “at the start of day six”
The virus was “still with us” and “there are likely to be difficult weeks ahead,” the health minister warned in the House of Commons, although figures showed that cases were dropping in London and the east of England – but increasing in other parts of the country.