World COVID tests 'won't be mandatory' for fully vaccinated people to avoid isolation if 'pinged' from 16 August
Frontline health workers to be spared from isolation rules to tackle 'pingdemic' crisis as England lockdown lifts
Frontline health workers in England are to be spared self-isolation rules in an emergency move to tackle the "pingdemic" that has triggered an NHS staffing crisis. © Sky News Screen Grab The NHS has been struggling with staffing as many health workers are isolating at home Coinciding with the lifting of most mandatory lockdown restrictions in England, fully vaccinated NHS and social care staff may not have to isolate if they are pinged by the COVID-19 app.
Fully vaccinated people will not be legally required to take a coronavirus test to avoid isolation if "pinged" from 16 August, Sky News understands.
It has already been announced by the government that people who have been double jabbed will no longer have to isolate after contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 from that date.
Instead, it had been expected that people would have to take a test to leave isolation.
America’s Mask Dilemma
Depending on where you live and your risk tolerance, vaccinated people are justified in either masking or unmasking indoors.For some Americans, this is no longer a choice. Buffeted by rising COVID-19 case counts resulting from the hyper-transmissible Delta variant, Los Angeles County re-implemented an indoor mask mandate a few days ago. Unlike mask guidelines elsewhere, the new rule applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Other localities might soon follow.
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But Sky News understands the tests will be encouraged rather than mandatory - unless you develop symptoms.
It means individuals who have received two vaccine doses by the mid-August date will neither have to isolate or take a coronavirus test if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case unless they themselves feel unwell.
Video: The vaccines minister sets out plans for a UK-wide 'NHS Covid pass' (PA Media)
As the pandemic wears on, some Americans could need booster shots
Some health officials now think a third shot could help older and immunocompromised people. Israel is already offering a third Pfizer shot for immunocompromised residents — though millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have yet to be vaccinated — and Pfizer has previously suggested that a booster shot could be needed in the US. Regulatory questions abound Though the US currently has tens of millions of surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses on hand, making a third Pfizer or Moderna shot available to millions of immunocompromised or elderly Americans likely won’t be a quick process.
This will be the case whether someone is alerted via the app or through a call from NHS Test and Trace.
Reacting to the change on social media, chief executive of UKHospitality Kate Nicholls said: "Good news if this is the case but businesses need to urgently know the rules they are applying from 16 August and also need to have a workable test to release regime for those workers not fully vaccinated by that date - particularly key for hospitality."
The decision to further loosen isolation rules comes in the week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson exited his own period of self-isolation.
The prime minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were forced into quarantine after they were identified as close contacts of Health Secretary Sajid Javid who tested positive for the virus.
Mandate the vaccine, not masks
Vaccines are the solution to Covid-19. Let’s make the most of them.With the rise of the delta variant and a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling on vaccinated people to wear masks indoors again in places where the virus is quickly spreading. At least some school districts will likely require masks this fall. Local governments, from Massachusetts to California, are reviving mask mandates.
And last week, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was told to isolate after one of his children contracted COVID-19.
Currently, people who alerted by the NHS coronavirus app after coming in to contact with someone who has the virus must quarantine for 10 days no matter of their vaccine status - with a few exceptions including emergency workers.
If an individual is told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace the isolation period is legally mandated, whereas if they are notified by the app it is only advised.
This rule will change on 16 August, when the government hopes to scrap isolation for those double-jabbed unless they get symptoms of the virus.
But ministers are under pressure from business leaders to bring this date forwards with concerns about the number of people being forced into isolation due to the so-called "pingdemic".
More than 600,000 people were forced to quarantine in the week up to 14 July.
On Wednesday, the number of infections in the UK fell for the seventh day in a row, with 23,511 new COVID-19 cases and 131 more coronavirus-related deaths in the latest 24-hour period.
Here's a look at COVID vaccine passport systems in use overseas
Countries with relatively high vaccination rates have started rolling out various versions of vaccine passports. What do they look like and are there similar plans for Australia?Most of the countries that have begun implementing the passes widely have relatively high vaccination rates of at least 50 per cent.
But the figures showed the highest number of daily deaths since 17 March, when 141 fatalities were reported.
Earlier this week, the government expanded the list of sectors able to avoid quarantine as part of a pilot scheme.
They also increased the number of testing sites across England - with 1,200 new sites being added to 800 already in operation.
The expanded scheme will now include people working in prisons, defence, communications, space, fish and HMRC, the government said.
Last week, the government announced that individuals in frontline roles such as police, fire and the Border Force would move to daily lateral flow testing instead of having to isolate - regardless of vaccine status.
Emergency service workers and other critical staff, including those in transport, freight and haulage, were already eligible to be exempt but only if their employers specified their names and that they were double jabbed.
Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading -. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and . Only if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In , call your GP.
Why Did the CDC Stop Counting Mild and Asymptomatic 'Breakthrough' COVID Cases? .
On May 1, the CDC decided to start tracking only the most severe COVID-19 cases. Two months later, the Delta variant started causing outbreaks amongst vaccinated people.On May 1, the CDC announced it would transition "from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause.