NationalNews

Contacts of those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 may no longer have to isolate under new plans announced by the government.

Currently, a person must isolate for 14 days if they have been a close contact with someone who has tested positive to the virus.

But under the new plans, they would instead have the opportunity to be tested every day for a week and will not need to isolate unless they also test positive.

Meanwhile, they can go about their business as usual.

The plan will be trialled in Liverpool from next week and if the results are promising, it will be extended across the NHS and care homes in December before being rolled out to everyone from January.

The plan would require the wider use of rapid lateral flow tests, which produce test results within 30 minutes and have been used in Liverpool as part of a community testing pilot.

It comes amid growing concerns that not enough people isolate after being notified that a close contact has tested positive.

In August, the government’s scientific advisers said that just 20% of those reporting symptoms in England were isolating for the required two weeks.

And in September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people could be fined up to £10,000 for failing to isolate after a positive test or an alert from the Test and Trace system.

Ending isolation is part of the government’s COVID Winter Plan.

Other parts of the plan include allowing every care home resident to see two visitors twice a week by the end of the year.

The visitors will be able to have physical contact with their loved ones and can be tested twice a week under a plan being trialled in 20 care homes ahead of a prospective rollout next month.

Mr Johnson is expected to say: "The selflessness of people in following the rules is making a difference.

"The virus is not spreading nearly as quickly as it would if we were not washing our hands, maintaining social distance, wearing masks and so on.

"And in England, where nationwide measures came into effect at the start of this month, the increase in new cases is flattening off.

"But we are not out of the woods yet. The virus is still present in communities across the country, and remains both far more infectious and far more deadly than seasonal flu.

"But with expansion in testing and vaccines edging closer to deployment, the regional tiered system will help get the virus back under control and keep it there."

© Sky News 2020