The change will come into force from Monday.
The four UK chief medical officers (CMOs) said in a joint statement: “After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days. People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days.”
This reduction, which already applies in Wales, will take effect in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from Monday (December 14). Each of the four nations has its own lists of “travel corridor” countries which are exempt from the quarantine rules. While the majority of each nation’s travel corridors include the same countries, some differ slightly.
The change in the number of days of self-isolation will also apply to people instructed to quarantine after returning from high-risk countries. It also means that anyone who has been self-isolating for 10 days or more will be able to end their quarantine on Monday next week.
The NHS Test and Trace app will tell people to self-isolate for 10 days from Monday, but due to the time taken to develop technical changes, the NHS Covid-19 app will only do the same from Thursday. The CMOs added that self-isolation was “essential to reducing the spread of Covid as it breaks the chains of transmission”.
Those who receive a notification to self-isolate on the app prior to Thursday will be able to end their quarantine when the countdown timer says three days.