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Calls for some Covid rules to stay but double-jabbed will 'no longer need to self-isolate'
3 July 2021, 07:17 | Updated: 3 July 2021, 07:22
Leading doctors have called for some anti-Covid measures to remain after July 19 as cases rise again.
Some will need to stay in place to protect the public's health, the NHS and the economy, the British Medical Association (BMA) said.
These include continuing to require the use of masks in enclosed public areas, like public transport and shops, and "significantly improved" public messaging about social distancing and meeting people outdoors or in well-ventilated areas.
It comes amid a report that, in a major move towards normality, double-vaccinated people will not need to self-isolate after coming into contact with a Covid case.
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Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said "sensible, cautious" measures were needed to minimise the impact of new waves of infections and variants.
"As case numbers continue to rise at an alarming rate due to the rapid transmission of the Delta variant and an increase in people mixing with one another, it makes no sense to remove restrictions in their entirety in just over two weeks' time," he said.
"The promise was to make decisions based on data and not dates, and while we were pleased to see the Government react to data in delaying the easing on June 21 last month, ministers must not now simply disregard the most recent, damning, numbers by rushing into meeting their new July 19 deadline."
The plea comes as the Times reports ministers are expected to approve a plan dropping the legal requirement for fully-vaccinated people to self-isolate.
It is expected to be signed off at a meeting on Monday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also said fully-vaccinated Brits should be able to go on holiday in Europe without quarantine in the "foreseeable future", and travel restrictions are being reviewed.
Boris Johnson has said he is confident the final relaxation of England's lockdown can take place on July 19 and new health secretary Sajid Javid said he wants it to go ahead too – but he has not confirmed if it will see the end of every restriction.
The Delta variant accounts for roughly 95% of confirmed cases in the UK, while the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows about one in 260 private households in England had Covid in the week to June 26.
Dr Nagpaul said while hospitalisations remain low compared to cases, the figures were still "increasing at pace" and there were double the amount of Covid patients in beds and ventilators than last month.
"Even if people aren't getting admitted to hospital at the same rate, spiralling levels of community transmission provides a fertile ground for new, potentially vaccine-resistant variants to develop."