Whitehall urged to follow suit as Wales changes self-isolation rules

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A man walks past a Wales souvenir shop wearing a face mask on October 23, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

All adults who have been fully-vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate if they are identified as close contacts of someone with coronavirus from 7 August, the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed today (30 July).

The changes to the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect (TTP) service for fully-vaccinated adults will now see contact tracers and advisers providing them guidance on how to protect themselves and stay safe. Children and young people under 18 will also be exempt from the need to self-isolate if they are also identified as close contacts of a positive case.

“We can remove the need for self-isolation for the two million adults who have completed their vaccine course, helping to keep Wales safe and working,” Drakeford said.

Wales is expected to move to alert level zero on 7 August, subject to the then prevailing public health situation.

As retailers in England and Scotland will have to wait longer for fully vaccinated colleagues to return to work, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the UK government to follow changes to the self-isolation rules in Wales.

“The decision to bring forward changes to self-isolation rules for fully vaccinated colleagues will be welcome news for local shops in Wales. However, retailers in England and Scotland are becoming increasingly frustrated that they have to struggle on for longer with reduced staffing levels as absence rates remain high due to the ‘pingdemic’,” James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said.

“We continue to press for the UK government to bring forward the 16 August self-isolation date for the double vaccinated.”

The TTP service in Wales will move to a “warn and inform” service for all fully vaccinated adults and under-18s, who are identified as close contacts which means everyone identified as a contact of a positive case will be advised to have a PCR test on day two and day eight, regardless of whether they have been fully vaccinated.