New tracing system for fully vaccinated people as most Covid rules abandoned

The UK government has suggested that a new tracing system could be introduced for people who have had both doses of their Covid-19 vaccination.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today in his Downing Street press conference on the easing of lockdown measures in England from July 19 that a test, trace and isolate system that is “proportionate to the pandemic” will continue to be used.

He said: “You will have to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to do so by NHS test and trace.”

However, he added: “We are looking to move to a different regime for fully vaccinated contacts of those testing positive and also for children.”

He said more details will be announced on Tuesday to “maintain key protections but remove bubbles and contact isolation for pupils”.

Many restrictions are being lifted. The one metre-plus rule on social distancing is to end, as will the legal obligation to wear a face covering.

People who are fully vaccinated could have a different test and trace system
People who are fully vaccinated could have a different test and trace system

But there will be guidance to suggest situations where people may still choose to wear masks, according to Mr Johnson.

This may refer to times when cases are rising and people come into contact with someone they do not normally meet in enclosed places such as crowded public transport, he said.

Earlier Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs the government was hoping to exempt the under-18s from self-isolation rules.

In response to a question from Conservative backbencher David Simmonds on the impact of restrictions on education, Mr Javid said: “I can confirm that on July 19 it is our plan to remove bubbles and to end the requirement for early year settings, schools and colleges to routinely carry out contact tracing.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid
Health Secretary Sajid Javid is set to make a statement to parliament on the rules for vaccinated people needing to isolate

He added that he would have “more to say on how we intend to exempt under-18s who are close contacts from the requirement to self-isolate”.

Conservative MP Steve Brine asked about the future of NHS Test and Trace, saying “surely it can’t continue as now” as even those who had received two vaccine doses are “forced into isolation for days at a time, with all the knock-on effects that that has for society and economy”.

Mr Javid said he would “probably” make a statement to parliament on Tuesday on “just that issue”.

Jeremy Hunt, Conservative chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee, said Mr Javid should ask officials for “new advice as to what we can do to improve Test and Trace to stop further lockdowns”.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maureen McLean/REX/Shutterstock (12189455b)
Free NHS Covid-19 lateral flow test packs were being given out to members of the public today in Beaconsfield. A mobile Covid-19 testing service was also available. The Covid-19 restrictions are now expected to be lifted in England from 19th July despite the alarming surge in the number of positive Covid-19 cases due to the Delta Variant
Covid-19 lockdown, Lateral Flow Testing, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, UK - 29 Jun 2021
Nearly all of the existing Covid restrictions were scrapped in plans unveiled today for July 19th

He said: “Does he agree that if we want to prevent another lockdown in the run-up to winter, apart from the booster jab programme, the most important thing we can do is to improve the way Test and Trace works.

“In Korea they managed to use it to stop any lockdowns, here it failed to stop three lockdowns.”

Mr Javid said: “There are many successes over the last year that we can be proud of but there are also many improvements I think that can be made as well, and I want to tell him that I have already asked for such advice and I look forward talking to him about it in the future.”


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