Isolation to be avoided with repeat testing of close contacts in new scheme

Close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus will be offered repeated testing rather than being required to isolate under new plans.

The scheme will see people living in ‘very high alert’ areas undergo daily tests for a week and not have to self-isolate unless they test positive.

Liverpool, which was placed in Tier 3, will trial the scheme starting on Monday, with the Government looking to roll it out across the NHS and care homes in December, and the rest of the UK by January.

Community testing has already been used in the city, with more than 200,000 people undergoing rapid lateral flow tests which produce results within 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Government is looking to roll out testing in care homes next month which, it says, will allow each care home resident in the country to have up to two visitors who can be tested twice a week.

It is not yet known what areas are destined for Tier 3, with ministers preparing to outline the details on Thursday.

But Downing Street has said a greater number of areas are expected to enter the higher tiers in order to preserve the gains made against Covid-19 during the lockdown.

Additional testing plans also include all staff working in food manufacturing, prisons and the vaccine programme being offered weekly testing from next month.