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UK CUTS ISOLATION PERIOD

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LONDON, Jan 13: British officials said Thursday the selfisolation period for people in England who test positive for COVID-19 will be reduced from next week to five full days, instead of seven. Health Secretary Sajid Javid also said that early signs indicate that the rate of hospitalization from the coronavirus in the country is starting to slow. Javid told Parliament that official data suggested two-thirds of people are no longer infectious by the end of the fifth day after they test positive. He said that starting Monday, those infected can leave isolation from the start of day 6, after taking two negative tests. Currently, those infected can be released from self-isolation after seven days if they test negative on both days six and seven. Javid urged people to continue to selftest for the virus, so that “we can restore the freedoms to this country while we’re keeping everyone safe.”

Disrupted
The U.K. saw record numbers of daily confirmed infections over Christmas and New Year, topping 200,000 cases on some days, as the more transmissible omicron variant spread rapidly. Industries from retail to education, and infrastructure like public transport and postal services, have been severely disrupted because scores of workers had to isolate and could not go to work. The superfast spread of coronavirus omicron variant in the US has pushed the seven-day average of new daily cases to new high of 751,000.

This is “an increase of about 47 percent over the previous week,” said Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky at a news briefing to the White House coronavirus taskforce on Wednesday. She pointed out that the seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 19,800 per day, an increase of about 33 percent over the prior week. “And the seven-day average of daily deaths are about 1,600 per day, which is an increase of about 40 percent over the previoUS week,” she added. The CDC chief noted that the ultra-transmittable omicron variant is to blame for 98 cases of infection in the United States. “Over the past several weeks, we have seen the number of daily cases increase substantially. The magnitude of this increase is largely related to the Omicron variant, which now represents about 98 percent of the COVID-19 cases in the country,” he said.

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