Scotland not considering shortening isolation period, Holyrood minister says

Holyrood Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said Scotland did not plan to further reduce its quarantine period after UK Government Secretary for Education Nadhim Zahawi backed the reduction in isolation of England from seven to five days.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Sunday, Mr Yousaf said it was already risky for the Scottish government to limit the isolation period from 10 days to seven days.

“The reason we made this decision – and it’s important to say that the British nations have all moved at a different pace on this point – is that it’s not a risk-free option,” he said. declared.

“It’s not that there is no risk in going from 10 days to seven days, there is a risk.

“It’s just that we wanted time to determine whether we were going to inadvertently, for example, accelerate the transmission of the virus by cutting this period of isolation.”

Mr Yousaf said the Scottish government intended to keep the matter under review, adding that ‘we are not at this stage looking at going from seven days to five.

“We have literally just gone from 10 days to seven days. I think it would be good to see the impact and effect of this.

“But, clearly, we are still guided by science.”

Mr Zahawi argued that reducing the isolation period for the coronavirus from seven to five days could help reduce staff shortages.

He told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “It would definitely help alleviate some of the pressures on schools, on essential workforce and others.

“I would be absolutely motivated by the advice of the experts, the scientists, on whether to go from seven days to five days. What you don’t want is to create the bad outcome through higher infection levels. “

(PA Graphics)

He added: “I hope we will be one of the first big economies to demonstrate to the world how you go from a pandemic to an endemic and then manage that for as long as we have left, be it five, six, seven, 10 years old. . “

More than 27,000 people voluntarily resigned from the NHS from July to September last year, according to a report in Journal i, the highest number on record.

The figure is around 2% of the total workforce, according to figures from NHS England.

Mr Yousaf’s comments came as he renewed his call for people to be vaccinated in Scotland as the mutant Omicron strain of the coronavirus has seen infections increase across the country.

The SNP MSP said more than three million people had received a booster or a third dose, which it said offered “enhanced protection against the virus and reduced the risk of hospitalization from the virus.”

“However, we believe that Omicron has not yet reached its peak and that the pressure on the health and social protection system is extremely high,” he said.

“So to protect ourselves and the NHS at this critical time, it is essential that people complete the immunization course for which they are eligible. It remains essential that everyone receive their booster vaccine when they are eligible. “

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