THE Welsh Government have announced that the self-isolation period for coronavirus will be reduced from ten days to seven from tomorrow.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan published a written statement on December 23 about reducing the self-isolation period from 10 to seven days, on the basis of two negative lateral flow tests taken on days six and seven.
This was to come into force from 5 January.
However, first minister Mark Drakeford has now said that the Welsh Government will introduce this change tomorrow (December 31).
This means people who have tested positive for Covid-19 must self-isolate for seven days.
On days six and seven of their self-isolation period they should take lateral flow tests and if these tests – taken 24 hours apart – are positive, they should continue to self-isolate.
“We are bringing the change forward because the balance of harms has changed and the rising number of cases has begun to have an impact on the number of people, in critical jobs, who are excluded from the workplace because of self-isolation,” Mr Drakeford said.
Since the last formal review of the regulations, the Cabinet has moved to a weekly review in response to the emergence of the omicron variant.
Today, a review has taken place of the public health situation over the Christmas period.
“It has deteriorated in the last week as the omicron wave has arrived,” Mr Drakeford said.
“We have seen a marked rise in cases of coronavirus – the majority are likely to be caused by the omicron variant.
“Over the last few days, record numbers of infections have been identified and the overall seven-day case rate has risen to more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people across Wales.
“Cases are highest among 20 to 29-year-olds and 30 to 39-year-olds. We are also starting to see the cases rates increase in the older age groups.”
Hospitalisations remain lower than in previous waves, but these too are starting to increase.
The overall Covid-19 bed occupancy has grown by a third over the Christmas period. This is a combination of both omicron and delta cases.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in hospital has also increased to 446 on 29 December.
Mr Drakeford stressed however, that there has not been a rise in the number of Covid-19 patients needing critical care.
“Enormous efforts have been made to provide booster vaccines to all eligible adults in the run-up to Christmas – almost 1.6m people have received a booster,” he said.
“The concentrated attention on vaccination has also led to increases in the number of people coming forward for first and second vaccinations in December. It is never too late to be vaccinated in Wales.
“I want to place on record my thanks to all those who have given up their time this Christmas to help protect others, and to all those people, in every part of Wales who have made coming forward for vaccination their priority too.
“If you have not yet had your booster please make it a priority. It is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself against this awful virus.”
Demand for PCR tests and for lateral flow devices continues to rise and has reached new record levels.
The first minster said that Wales has a significant stock of lateral flow tests, sufficient for the weeks ahead.
The Health Minister has agreed today to loan a further four million tests to the English NHS, bringing that mutual aid to 10 million lateral flow tests.