UK's education minister Nadhim Zahawi says reduced COVID isolation will ease workforce pressures

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Jan 09, 2022, 04:31 PM(IST)

Britain's Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi leaves Downing Street after attending a cabinet meeting in central London Photograph:( AFP )

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The massive number of people testing positive or in self-isolation has hit staff numbers in all sectors including the state-funded health service

Britain's Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday defended the reduction in the isolation period for people who get test positive for the coronavirus.

When questioned about the decision, he said "It would certainly, you know, help mitigate some of the pressures on schools, on critical workforce and others. But I would absolutely be, you know, driven by the advice from the experts, the scientists on whether we should move to five days from seven days (COVID-19 isolation period). Otherwise, what you don't want is obviously create the wrong outcome by higher levels of infection."

It comes after in a tragic milestone for one of the worst affected countries in Europe, more than 150,000 people have died after catching coronavirus in the United Kingdom.

"I would obviously always defer to the scientific advice on this. It would certainly help mitigate some of the pressures on schools, on critical workforce and others," Zahawi told Sky News after being asked whether he backed a move to five days.

Also read | UK: Coronavirus deaths top 150,000, British government asks NHS to get vaccinated by February 3

The number of daily reported cases in the UK surged to a record figure of more than 200,000 last week, but has subsided slightly in recent days with 146,390 cases reported in the last 24 hours.

The country has introduced new rules including compulsory wearing of face masks by school children during lessons, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted cracking down on social gatherings in England over the festive period.

The massive number of people testing positive or in self-isolation has hit staff numbers in all sectors including the state-funded health service.

Rising staff absences at UK hospitals have already prompted the military to provide backup to beleaguered doctors and nurses.

Hospitalisations and deaths are nevertheless far lower than in the first wave of the pandemic when people were unvaccinated.

The government is urging the public to get boosters, which have already been administered to around 61 percent of the population aged over 12. It is also seeking to persuade the unvaccinated to receive jabs.
 

(With inputs from agencies)

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