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Matt Hancock has confirmed people who have had two Covid jabs and come into contact with someone infected with the virus will not have to self-isolate.
Under the plan, the 10-day quarantine period would be axed in favour of daily lateral flow tests.
The health secretary said on Monday a pilot study was being run to check it would be “effective”.
“We’re not ready to be able to take that step yet, but it’s something that I want to see and we will introduce, subject to clinical advice, as soon as it’s reasonable to do so,” he told BBC Breakfast.
Boris Johnson has delayed the end of England’s lockdown until July 19 in order to see more people vaccinated amid concerns over the rapidly-spreading Delta variant first identified in India.
Dr Susan Hopkins, strategic director for Covid-19 at Public Health England, has said the NHS should be able to have given 70% of the population two doses by that date.
Hancock said this morning the more people get vaccinated the “easier” it is the “safer” it is to lift restrictions.
“We had to have the delay in order to get more people vaccinated, especially those second vaccines to protect people, we’re being careful, we’re being cautious,” he said.
“But I have a high degree of confidence that this vaccine is going to get us out of this, and the more people who come forward, the easier that will be.”
He added more than a million second jabs for people over the age of 50 have been done in just 10 days.
But hopes England’s lockdown could be ended sooner were downplayed by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
He said said it was “unlikely” that coronavirus restrictions will be lifted before July 19.
“I would always err on the side of caution and I would look to July 19,” he told Sky News. “It could be before but I think that is unlikely. Generally we have stuck to the dates we have set. I think now I am very focused on July 19.”
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