This site is intended for health professionals only


Vaccinated GPs will no longer need to isolate if in contact with Covid case


GMC contacting GP returners


Fully-vaccinated people who are identified as close contacts of someone with Covid-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate from 16 August, the Government has announced.

The announcement forms part of plans revealed by the Prime Minister yesterday in which he set out the easing of all major Covid restrictions, including ending the legal requirement to wear a face covering in any setting and bringing in second Covid vaccine doses at eight weeks for all adults.

It follows the closure of GP practices across the country due to members of staff being off work because of self-isolation or Covid symptoms.

Announcing further details on the easing of self-isolation measures today, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that ‘double-vaccinated people will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case’.

The new rules will come into effect from 16 August if the Government goes ahead with the fourth stage of its roadmap on 19 July by removing all major Covid restrictions – which is set to be confirmed on Monday – it said.

Under-18s will also be exempt from isolation if they are a close contact so that they ‘can make the most of their education as restrictions continue to ease’, the DHSC added, following the controversy surrounding large numbers of children being off school.

However, all contacts of positive Covid cases will still be ‘advised’ to take a PCR test and will be legally required to isolate if they receive a positive result ‘irrespective of their vaccination status’, it said.

And those who receive their second vaccine dose ‘just before or after’ 16 August will need to wait two weeks after their vaccination date before becoming eligible for the exemption, it added.

Introducing the exemption from August ‘will enable even more people to have received both doses of the vaccine, significantly reducing the risk of severe illness and providing the fullest protection possible for people across the country’, the DHSC said.

The NHS Covid-19 app will be updated in August in line with the new guidance, it added.

Health secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament that the Government can ‘can safely take steps to reduce self-isolation’ thanks to the UK’s ‘phenomenal’ vaccine programme.

He added: ‘Asking people with Covid-19 and their close contacts to self-isolate has played a critical role in helping us get this virus under control, and I’m so grateful to the millions of people across the UK who have made sacrifices to keep the virus at bay.

‘This new approach means 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.’

The DHSC added that regular testing ‘remains critical to controlling the virus as restrictions ease’.

In November, the Prime Minister said that GPs who come into close contact with a person who tests positive for Covid-19 might soon be able to take a lateral flow test and avoid self-isolation.

However, when lateral flow testing was rolled out to GP practices the following month, GPs were told that they must still isolate if advised to do so by Test and Trace or the Covid-19 app even if they tested negative.

READERS' COMMENTS [4]

Vinci Ho 7 July, 2021 12:58 pm

As I said in our own monthly LMC meeting yesterday:
(1) If this pattern of rising cases of Covid ( mainly in the 20s and 30s age groups) happened 12 months ago , we were heading towards another lockdown . Obviously , our vaccines(in contrast to vaccines elsewhere in the world ) are proven to be very effective in preventing hospitalisations and deaths . That is scientifically undeniable fact . So this government has now taken an executive decision to ‘open everything’ from 19/7/2021 , in addition to lifting the requirement of face covering and practically social distancing ( even in healthcare settings ) . There is a desperate desire to return to ‘normal’ underpinned by our western values of freedom and liberty .
(2) Question is : can we afford the new ‘normal’ which is characterised by a contagion still spreading relentlessly in the country but with a very low death rate( probably about 0.1% in line with influenza, for instance) . Yes , we have ammunitions with more new vaccines as boosters to protect us against new mutated variants . There is however , a theory that the more the virus can spread , the more likely it can mutate ( though there may be an upper limit) .
The economy will bounce exponentially once everything is open up again .Though I am concerned of a phase(at least temporary)of inflation if you also look at the rest of the world right now. Interest rate will then have to be increased .
If a health secretary openly declared that the government is expecting up to 100,000 new cases of Covid daily once it lifted restrictions, he simply told you that we should be ‘fearless’.
‘Right’ thing can only be done at the ‘right’ time and place in history. Perhaps , it is only a fine line between audacity and stupidity. 😈
(3) As far as we(GPs) are concerned , we are up against this new ‘normal’ after 19th of July .
Are practices to open their doors wide open and allow patients NOT wearing any face covering to come in ?
What happened when staff developed fever , cough , headaches , sore throat etc from now on ?
Yes , no isolation if you have no double vaccinations after being exposed to a positive case but still need to isolate if you are tested posted . What is the impact on workforce otherwise?
(4) Giving flu vaccines and Covid booster appear to be an excellent idea but have that been thought through properly ?
JCVI said categorically that the trial result of COV-Booster will determine which vaccine(s) to be used as the booster but results are only likely available later in September .
Quintessentially , without details of logistics particularly on vaccine supplies , NHSE/I had already set the first week of September as our phase 3 vaccination dates and the window of completion is only 3 months to finish in December ( obviously looking at a good Christmas with all the extremely vulnerable ones etc . protected ) . This is also coupled with the the most egregious idea of health checks ( BP and pulse checks ) at the same time of the double vaccination.
(5) Apart from dealing with all the backlog of workloads in primary care , the inevitable transfer (dumping if you like ) of the workloads secondary care failing to deal with is in fact , endangering patients ‘ safety in my opinion . Mental health problems , cancers , Long Covid (whatever the true definition is ) are all hitting headlines right now .
Last thing we need is an exponential rise in Covid cases together with a flu endemic , albeit the number of deaths are presumably ‘low’.

The new health secretary( and those government propaganda media) might think that frontline GPs are always moaning or even uncooperative, but the question remains , ‘how realistic is this government?’
The optimist always looked up and hence , lost his footings falling down .
The pessimist always looked down and hence , banged cracking his head open
The realist looked straight and negotiated his/her way around the corners meticulously🧐🤨

Patrufini Duffy 7 July, 2021 2:57 pm

In life, if everyone walks off a cliff, doesn’t mean you have to. Some of you are over-riding your own intelligence and knowledge, which will be at your great misfortune.

David Church 7 July, 2021 10:05 pm

Patruffinei : unfortunately, it is not fair that bunches if people rush to jump pff the cliff, knowing they can fly, but the less deluded are tied to them b ychains of civilisation, and get dragged over with them, or lie on the edge, trying hard to pull them back up, and unable themselves to take a break or just get up and go for a walk and leave them.
HCWs are subjected to severe restriction of their rights by a group who don;t care about others’ rights, and have no idea or care to understand that they are also throwing away their own lives and livelihoods, as well as those of others.
We have GOT to get this insane givernment out., in order to survive and regain our rights and freedoms – like people in Aust and NZ have (only their governments were on their side!)

Patrufini Duffy 8 July, 2021 1:13 pm

I agree David. My point is, many good-hearted doctors are putting themselves second and not first. Do not go to the cliff and expose yourself, simply because you’re kicked in the back by soulless, narcissistic, corrupt individuals. Turn around, kick that person back, and walk away. That’s what some mothers teach their children. Like don’t cross at a red signal.