Government hints at relaxing self-isolation rules as vaccinations progress

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Britain might relax the rules regarding self-isolation for people who have had two vaccinations, health secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC today.

A change would mean a person who has been vaccinated and come into contact with someone who has the virus would have to take two tests but not quarantine.

Hancock said however that the government was not yet ready to take the step, but would implement it as soon as clinical advice says it is safe.

It is “something that we’re working on and I very much hope we’ll be able to make progress soon”, he said.

According to the Times, the government will only act once the results of a study of 40,000 people have indicated it will be safe.

Around 80% of adults in the UK have received at least one vaccination with 47% having had both jobs.

19 July reopening still on track but travel to remain difficult

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, meanwhile said he was still confident that all coronavirus restrictions would be lifted on 19 July.

“It still looks to me as if July 19 is a terminus point,” he said on a visit to the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control.

However, the outlook for travel is far less certain, he added.

“I want to stress that this is going to be, whatever happens, a difficult year for travel, there will be hassle, there will be delays I’m afraid the priority has got to be to keep the country safe and stop the virus from coming back in.”

Pubs, restaurants still being affected

Meanwhile, new research said that thousands of pubs, bars and restaurants were at risk of closure due to the government’s extension of freedom day until 19 July.

Trade body the CGA said that 25,000 outlets remain closed with a significant portion of these at risk of permanent closure.

At the end of May, some 76% of licensed sites were trading, which was double the number at the end of April.

More than 90% (91.9%)  of pubs had reopened but fewer than half of nightclubs and only 73% of bars.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Britain already has nearly 10,000 fewer licensed premises than before the pandemic, and that number will sadly rise as a result of the government’s delay.

“Coming as it does on top of a mountain of challenges on debt, tax, rising costs, recruitment and much more, hospitality now deserves sustained financial backing to save thousands of businesses and jobs, and the government’s extension of the ban on commercial evictions of tenants is a welcome first step.

The hospitality sector’s recovery is central to the UK’s economic revival, and more support like this is vital if we are to prevent further casualties.”

Shares in Mitchells & Butlers (LON:MAB) rose by 0.8% to 284p with JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) eased 0.5% to 1,184p.

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