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Welsh Gov aims to remove requirement for fully vaccinated to self-isolate

22 Jul 2021 3 minute read
A patient is given the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at Pontcae Medical Practice in Merthyr Tydfil

The Welsh Government is aiming to remove the requirement for the fully vaccinated to self-isolate.

In a written statement, Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, said this would apply to those close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

She hopes to bring in the new rules in August as part of the 21 day review cycle, and says the announcement is to provide “clarity” to users of the NHS Covid-19 App who have been notified that they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.

The move comes amid fears of a so called ‘ping-demic’. Between 8 and 15 July. 11,417 people received a self-isolation alert in Wales.

Earlier this week, Welsh Conservatives called on both the Welsh and UK Governments to work together to implement changes to isolation rules and the app.

Elunded Morgan said: “I want to provide clarity on the position in Wales and actions required for NHS Covid 19 App users who are notified that they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid 19.

“Case rates in Wales have been rising and consequently the number of contacts being asked to self-isolate, whether by a Test Trace Protect (TTP) contact tracer or via the NHS Covid 19 App, has also been increasing. However it is important to note that, at the present time, case rates and contacts are not at the levels seen elsewhere in the UK.

“The NHS Covid 19 App continues to be an important supplementary tool to our TTP service and App users should continue to follow the self-isolation advice if they receive a notification. It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if instructed by the TTP service.

“The NHS Covid 19 App is not covered by this legal duty because the App is anonymous and the privacy of users is protected. NHS Covid 19 App users should follow the instruction to self-isolate to help minimise the spread of the virus.

“The increase in notifications to contacts advising them to self-isolate illustrates that the NHS Covid 19 App is working effectively and doing what it is designed to do.”

She added: “In August, as part of the next 21 day review cycle, we aim to remove the requirement for people who have been fully vaccinated to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. We will also consider other potential exemptions, such as for those under the age of 18. The NHS Covid 19 App will align with these change when they are made.

“Until any changes are introduced it is essential that anyone asked to self-isolate does so. I am aware that in the next few weeks there is the potential for critical services, such as the NHS and social care, to face additional pressures as a result of the number of contacts self-isolating increasing.

“We are working closely with relevant clinical and NHS bodies and social care partners to agree effective mitigation for direct patient and client facing and caring roles to see what more could be done in extremis where self-isolation of fully vaccinated close contacts could have a direct impact on patient safety.

“Our regional Incident Management Teams who are responsible for Covid prevention and response planning have also been asked to consider whether isolation poses any risks to critical services and infrastructure and advise on any possible response that may be considered necessary.”

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