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New self-isolation rules for double-vaccinated Brits will be announced today, the new Health Secretary has declared.
Sajid Javid is set to give a statement to Parliament at around lunchtime on how self-isolation will change for those who are fully vaccinated.
Ministers had been working on plans to exempt fully-vaccinated people from 10 days' self-isolation if they come into contact with a Covid sufferer.
But a date for the change was still being thrashed out, and the plans were notably absent last night from Boris Johnson's plans for axing almost all Covid rules from July 19.
Today, however, Mr Javid confirmed there will be a difference in rules between vaccinated and unvaccinated Brits, and "I’ll make an announcement on this later today.”
He told BBC Breakfast: "What I can tell you at this point is we will have a more proportionate system of test, trace and isolate.
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“And it is absolutely right that those who’ve been double jabbed, we can take a different approach than the one we take today.
“In terms of what we’ll be doing exactly, you’ll have to wait for my statement to Parliament later today.”
Asked how it would account for people who has a member of their household test positive, he replied: "You’ll have to wait for my statement”.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid will make an announcement in the Commons
Health Minister Jo Churchill is listed for a 12.30pm Commons statement, but it's thought Mr Javid plans to give it instead.
Immediately afterwards, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will formally announce plans to axe school bubbles for Covid contacts from July 19.
It comes as Boris Johnson and Mr Javid faced a furious backlash for scrapping all mask laws in England from July 19 – despite cases surging.
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Mr Javid today admitted cases could hit 100,000 a day this summer – surpassing their all-time recorded peak in the UK at Christmas last year.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “By the time we get to [July] 19 we would expect case numbers by then to be at least double what they are now, so around 50,000 new cases a day.
“As we ease and go into the summer, we expect them to rise significantly and they could go as high as 100,000 case numbers.
“We want to be very straightforward about this in terms of what we can expect from case numbers.
“But what matters more than anything is hospitalisation and death numbers and that is where the link is being severely weakened.”
Mr Javid said "of course" there are "a number of models we look at internally" about how many people might end up in hospital, but refused to spell out what they say.
He insisted: "It’s not about some number of deaths being acceptable, of course not."
Mr Javid also admitted restrictions could have to return this winter – despite Boris Johnson previously claiming the end of lockdown would be "irreversible".
The Health Secretary hinted at local lockdowns by pointing out councils will retain powers until September, and possibly beyond. He told Sky News: "There is a risk, I think it’s a real risk of some kind of vaccine resistant variant.
"There’s no sign of that yet anywhere but I think it’s something no one can rule out. And that’s why it’s sensible to retain some powers."
SAGE member Prof Neil Ferguson admitted reopening was a "gamble".
He told the BBC: “This is a slight gamble, it’s a slight experiment at the moment. I think it’s justifiable and I’m reasonably optimistic.
SAGE member Prof Neil Ferguson admitted reopening was a "gamble"
[But] policy will have to remain flexible. If we end up in something close to the worst-case scenario, we and other groups are looking at, which I think is unlikely but can’t be ruled out, then yes, there may need to be some sort of course correction later."
The move to scrap face mask laws and replace them with guidance has triggered fury, as masks protect other people more than the wearer.
It's thought some insiders have suggested vulnerable people could simply travel at quieter times – a move that would provoke outrage if made policy.
Despite the laws being axed, Mr Javid insisted: "For the foreseeable future I’ll be carrying a face mask with me.
"I think that’s a very responsible thing for anyone to do.
"The pandemic is not over and if I’m in a crowded or enclosed space I’ll wear a face mask."