Shortened isolation period marks “important intervention”, say small firms, as they call for workplace testing relaunch

Responding to the announcement that the Covid isolation period has been shortened from seven to five full days, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

“We’re pleased to see this decision from the Health Secretary and UK Health and Security Agency today. Over the last month we have made the case that, if it can be done safely, shortening the isolation period would make a huge difference to the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that currently have staff off work. Mass isolation of two million people has hit the workforce just at the moment when firms are trying to bounce back from yet another disrupted festive season.

“Today’s announcement marks an important intervention; it’s a relief to see policymakers embrace our recommendation. From here, the Government should now make good on past promises to deliver a world leading test-and-trace infrastructure. The workplace testing initiative – closed last summer – should be relaunched immediately and lateral flow supplies shored up.   

“More widely, we’re encouraging this administration to rediscover its pro-enterprising, reforming zeal. Against a backdrop of surging inflation, labour shortages and increasing late payment, its decision to hike national insurance contributions looks increasingly misjudged. It should reconsider.”