What is changing?
From Tuesday 14th December 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with the Covid-19 Omicron variant or live in the same household do not have to isolate but should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days. This is also the case for other variants of Covid-19.
As before, anyone who has a positive rapid lateral flow test or anyone who develops symptoms should self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test. If this confirms the results, they must isolate for 10 days from the day they took the positive lateral flow test or developed symptoms. If the PCR is negative, they should continue to take lateral flow tests for the remainder of the 7 days. Close contacts are also advised to limit close contact with others outside of their household.
What about unvaccinated people?
Unvaccinated adults must self-isolate for 10 days if they are a contact of someone who tests positive with Covid-19 as before.
Who does the daily rapid testing apply to?
The daily rapid testing applies to:
- fully vaccinated adults – people who have had 2 jabs
- all children aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, regardless of their vaccination status
- people who can prove they are unable to be vaccinated for clinical reasons
- people taking part, or have taken part, in an approved clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine
Under 5s are exempt from self-isolation and do not need to take part in rapid lateral flow testing.
This system is guidance rather than the law, but this will be kept under review.
What does this mean for employers?
You need to be aware of the change to this guidance. Please note should you wish employees not to attend work if they are a close contact or a household member tests positive, but they are not testing positive or do not have symptoms at that time, you will need to pay them full pay as they are ready, willing and able to work. Also, consider if they are able to do any work from home if this is the case. If they do test positive usual sick pay rules will apply.
The press release can be found HERE.