MILLIONS of double-jabbed Brits face more weeks of self-isolation if they come into contact with a Covid sufferer — bringing an extra dose of pain for businesses.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced plans for the fully vaccinated to swerve the hated ten days at home quarantine — but only after August 16.
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The delay dismayed struggling companies who said losing staff at short notice was dragging them down as they tried to bounce back. And last night there were calls for the Government to do more to help get workers back in offices.
With cases set to hit 50,000 a day in the coming weeks, experts warned millions more faced being pinged by test and trace or the NHS app before the rules changed.
Despite saying the vaccine put a protective wall around those who have had two doses, Mr Javid insisted double-jabbed adults must still take a PCR test if they had been in contact with the virus.
He admitted cases could top 100,000 a day this summer, with the Adam Smith Institute warning as many as 4.6million a week could be forced to isolate.
However, Mr Javid insisted cases soaring was not a concern as long as deaths and hospital admissions stayed at a manageable level.
He warned that by Freedom Day on July 19 he expected confirmed daily cases to reach 50,000 — nearly double yesterday’s 27,000. But he insisted: “What matters more than anything is hospitalisation and death numbers.”
Mr Javid confirmed those who tested positive would always have to isolate. And after days of wrangling between ministers and medics, he revealed close contacts of positive cases would still require a test to dodge the quarantine.
Mr Javid told MPs: “This new approach means that we can manage the virus in a way that’s proportionate to the pandemic while maintaining the freedoms that are so important to us all.”
He also confirmed under-18s — who are not eligible for vaccines yet — would also be able to avoid quarantine if they came into contact with a Covid case, spelling an end to school disruption.
Meanwhile, businesses want “urgent clarity” over the lifting of the working from home order, after the PM swerved calling for workers to return to city centres.
Business group the British Chambers of Commerce said bosses were still lacking the “full picture they desperately need to plan for unlocking”.
There was anger after Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick appeared to suggest the PM had held back from urging people back into urban areas because empty cities could solve the housing crisis.
But he admitted “the lack of office workers has had a profound impact on some of our towns”.