Today, self-isolation requirements have ended for double-jabbed people and under-18s in England and Northern Ireland – as we continue to move from short term restrictions to the longer-term protection supported by our world leading vaccine programme.
The success of our vaccine programme allows us to continue taking steps towards normal life. That is why, from today, instead of quarantining for 10 days, those who are double vaccinated will be advised to take a PCR test if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 - no longer being required to self-isolate unless they themselves test positive. They are also advised to limit contact with others and wear a face covering in enclosed spaces. To ensure young people can make the most of their education, under-18s who have a negative PCR test will also be exempt from self-isolation.
Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onward chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and remain in isolation until the result comes back.
The success of our vaccine programme and the heroic efforts of our NHS and key workers are allowing us to continue cautious steps towards normal life. We continue to urge everyone to come forward and get your jab when your turn comes.
For more information on self-isolation being removed for double-jabbed close contacts from 16 August, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-isolation-removed-for-double-jabbed-close-contacts-from-16-august.
All young people aged 16 and 17 in England to be offered vaccine by next week
Yesterday the Government announced that all young people aged 16-17 will be offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday 23 August – giving them vital protection against the virus before they return to school in September.
Tens of thousands of young people have already been vaccinated, and it is essential that as many as possible receive the vital protection offered by a vaccination before they return to school. That is why the Health Secretary has asked the NHS in England to ensure that everyone aged 16 and 17 will be offered a first dose of the vaccine by Monday 23 August – giving them the necessary two weeks to build maximum immunity before they return to school in September.
NHS England has launched a new online walk-in site finder to help 16 and 17 year olds locate the nearest available centre. Further sites will come online over the coming days and weeks.
People aged 16 and 17 will be able to get vaccinated at one of more than 800 GP-led local vaccination sites. Thousands will be invited including by text and letter to book their appointments through GPs or via walk-in centres to help keep them, their families and friends safe from the virus.
The vaccines have already saved around 84,600 lives and prevented 23.4 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations in England up to 6 August, according to the latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University.
Teenagers within three months of turning 18 can book their vaccine appointment online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119. Around 100,000 texts are being sent to those eligible inviting them to book their jabs.
Children aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 or who live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus are also being contacted by the NHS and invited for their vaccine by 23 August, ahead of the new school year.
We urge all young people to get your jabs as soon as you can so we can continue to live safely with this virus and enjoy our freedoms.
For more information on the Government’s announcement that all young people aged 16 and 17 in England to be offered vaccine by next week, including comments from the Health and Social Care Secretary and the Vaccines Minister, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/all-young-people-aged-16-and-17-in-england-to-be-offered-vaccine-by-next-week.
Cost of NHS travel tests to be reduced and private provider list reviewed
On Saturday the Government significantly reduced the price of NHS travel testing packages, so that anyone travelling abroad can access high quality tests at a reasonable price.
The Government understands that concerns about the cost of PCR testing can sometimes be a barrier to travel. That is why the Health Secretary slashed the cost of day 2 and day 8 tests from NHS Test and Trace by a fifth – with single test packages being reduced from £88 to £68 and the price for two tests being lowered from £170 to £136.
The Health Secretary has also announced there will be a rapid internal review of the pricing and service standards of all providers of day 2 and 8 tests. Any misleading pricing will be clamped down on swiftly and we will urgently remove listings found to have misleading prices. The review will start this weekend and last 10 days, and providers failing to meet necessary standards will be urgently removed.
The price of travel testing has fallen significantly. This is the second time pricing of NHS tests has been reduced, following a review in May which reduced the cost of a day 2 and 8 package from £210 to £170.
The Health and Social Care Secretary has also commissioned a rapid review of the private testing providers list on gov.uk to ensure the prices advertised align with what is genuinely available.
This follows a request on Friday 6 August from the Health and Social Care Secretary for an urgent high-level review from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to address exploitative behaviour in the private testing market and crack down on excessive pricing or misleading claims. While the CMA carries out this review it will provide ongoing support to DHSC.
For more information following the announcement that the cost of NHS travel tests will be reduced and private provider list reviewed, including comments from the Health and Social Care Secretary, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cost-of-nhs-travel-tests-to-be-reduced-and-private-provider-list-reviewed.