The Council of Ministers met yesterday (Tuesday 13 July) to explore ways to reduce the economic and social impact of COVID-19 self-isolation rules.
Currently, anyone who is fully vaccinated does not have to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with the virus. However, those who aren’t fully vaccinated do have to self-isolate, even if they receive a negative test result.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said:
'With the gradual increase in COVID-19 cases over recent days, a growing number of people are having to self-isolate. I know there is concern on the impact this is having on staffing, particularly for smaller organisations, with some having to temporarily close. As cases and self-isolation numbers grow, so will the level of disruption for employers. Government is listening to these concerns.
'Thanks to our vaccination programme, we are adapting to live with the virus. Despite current case numbers, there are currently no COVID-19 hospital admissions and no indication that anyone is seriously ill with the virus.
'Each day, the number of people fully vaccinated increases, meaning fewer and fewer people will be required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with the virus.'
The Chief Minister continued:
'Whilst the work goes on to complete our vaccination programme, we must continue to protect our community. However, we cannot ignore the social and economic impact of the growing number of people identified as close contacts, but not yet fully vaccinated, having to self-isolate.
'The Council of Ministers has explored a number of options that could alleviate this situation. I will hold a briefing on Thursday at 4pm to update the public.'