Isolation rules for Covid contacts in England ended for the double-vaccinated

Contacts will instead be advised to have a free PCR test

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Fully vaccinated people in England will from Monday no longer have to go into isolation if they have had close contact with a coronavirus case, as restrictions continue to be eased.

Instead, those who have been twice vaccinated and the under-18s will be advised to have a free PCR test if they come into close contact with a case.

The change was announced last month, as part of step four of the government's plan to open up after more than a year of rolling lockdowns.

Anyone who tests positive after the PCR test will still be legally required to go into isolation.

Britain is still battling another wave of the virus, with the emergence of the Delta variant.

Although cases are down about 50 per cent from their peak, the number of people catching the disease has been rising slightly over the last two weeks, with about 100 people a day dying from the disease.

Britain has been one the countries worst hit by the virus, recording more than 130,000 deaths, but has been able to ease restrictions after a successful vaccine programme, with 75 per cent of adults receiving both doses.

Before Monday, people who were "pinged" by the National Health Service app, warning them that they had come into close contact with a positive case, were required to isolate themselves for 10 days.

England officially fully opened up again on July 19, but millions were since contacted by the country's test-and-trace scheme, forcing them to stay away from family, friends and the workplace.

The "pingdemic", which grounded even Prime Minister Boris Johnson, severely disrupted businesses and critical services, hampering efforts to restart the ailing economy.

"Asking the close contacts of people with Covid-19 to self-isolate has played a critical role in helping us get this virus under control, and millions of people across the UK have made enormous sacrifices by doing this," said Health Minister Sajid Javid.

"Getting two doses of a vaccine has tipped the odds in our favour and allowed us to safely reclaim our lost freedoms, and from Monday we can take another huge step back towards our normal lives."

Removing isolation for those under 18 comes three weeks before thousands of pupils and students return to schools and universities. They will no longer be required to keep social distance.

Updated: August 16th 2021, 12:00 PM