Why Wales will let fully-vaccinated avoid isolating before England

6 August 2021, 11:01

Those who have had both doses of the Covid vaccine will not need to isolate in Wales.
Those who have had both doses of the Covid vaccine will not need to isolate in Wales. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Wales is set to lift its requirement for fully-vaccinated individuals to isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid.

It comes as the country is due to move into alert level zero from 6am on Saturday.

The move is one step ahead of England, which still requires double-jabbed individuals to isolate under the same circumstances.

Read more: Wales to relax most coronavirus restrictions as country moves to alert level zero

Why is Wales easing isolation rules first?

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick on LBC, Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "Our vaccination programme has moved ahead of some other parts of the United Kingdom.

"Over 90 per cent of our adult population have had a first dose of the vaccine and over 82 per cent of the population has had a second dose as well.

"That's a good 10 points ahead of other parts of the UK."

Wales has seen one of the fastest rollouts in the world, which Mr Drakeford put down to the population size of three million, a single NHS and the people of Wales "wanting to play their part".

What is Wales' policy?

Adults who are fully vaccinated, children and young people under 18 will no longer need to isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus.

However, people must continue to isolate for 10 days if they have symptoms of the virus or if they have a positive test result.

Mr Drakeford added in his announcement: "Even if you have been fully vaccinated, meeting outside is safer than inside; let fresh air into indoor spaces, get tested even for mild symptoms, and self-isolate when you are required to do so."

What else will change for Wales?

Along with changes for fully vaccinated individuals, Mr Drakeford revealed that all businesses would be able to open and legal limits on meeting people in indoor private spaces would be lifted on Saturday.

However, masks will continue to be compulsory on public transport and some enclosed places.

It comes as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for the government to enforce mask-wearing on public transport by law.

Mr Drakeford said the decision to lift restrictions at 6am instead of midnight would help prevent "large numbers of people queuing for the midnight hour".

When will rules change for England?

In England, double jabbed individuals and under-18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with Covid from 16 August.

Fully vaccinated people who are contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be told to take a PCR test.

Anyone who tests positive will have to self-isolate regardless of their jab status.

When announcing the changes, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "This new approach means we can manage the virus in a way that is proportionate to the pandemic while maintaining the freedoms that are so important to us all."