UK reduces COVID-19 self-isolation time

The British government on Wednesday reduced the COVID-19 self-quarantine time from 10 days to seven days for those who receive negative test results two days in a row.

UK health officials pointed to an analysis suggesting a seven-day isolation period alongside two negative lateral flow tests had nearly the same protective effect as a 10-day isolation period.

Rapid lateral flow tests are free in the UK and can be taken at home.

But officials 'strongly advise' those who leave their quarantine after seven days to limit contact with crowds, work from home and stay away from those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

With the Omicron variant spreading fast, the World Health Organization's Director for Europe says the continent is once again the epicenter of the pandemic.

HANS KLUGE: "The top ten countries with the highest mortality are in Europe and central Asia. Last week we had 27,000 extra COVID-19 deaths, 2.6 million new infections last week, which is forty, 4-0, percent higher than the same period last year and now we have Omicron taking over."

Many industries are struggling with staff shortages - and hospitals have warned it could impact patient safety.

U.S. health authorities are also considering reducing the 10-day recommended quarantine period for Americans who test positive, as the Omicron variant tears across the country.

Delta Airlines has asked the CDC to reduce the quarantine time for vaccinated people with breakthrough cases to five days, citing significant impact on their workforce and operations.

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