The self-isolation guidance for those with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland has been reduced to five days.
The latest guidance from the department of health further states that as children are less infectious than adults, their self-isolation period is reduced to three days.
The department has described the public health response to Covid-19 as “continuing to evolve with the emphasis on striking the right balance in light of the current risk posed by the virus and trajectory of the pandemic”.
On Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded that infections in Northern Ireland have increased to an estimated 71,000 people, or one in 25 – up from 59,900, or one in 30.
Health Minister Robin Swann said while the the prevalence is “relatively high”, the risk of serious illness is lower than during previous waves.
“I have always said I would keep Covid-19 measures under review,” he said.
“It is clear that after a period of reducing case numbers we are now seeing a rise in cases.
“Whilst prevalence continues to be relatively high, thankfully the overall risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death for those who contract Covid-19 is much lower than during previous waves.
“That said, we continue to see severe pressures in our hospitals and the contribution of Covid-19, even though admission numbers are smaller than in previous waves, adds to these pressures.”
Meanwhile the availability of lateral flow testing for those with symptoms has been extended until the end of July.
Mr Swann added: “This updated advice seeks to strike the right balance at this stage of the pandemic between reducing transmission, protecting the vulnerable and mitigating the disruption caused by longer periods of isolation.
“As we move forward together, and continue learning to live life Covid aware, I would urge people to use personal judgment, to act responsibly and to take sensible actions to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and other respiratory infections. This in turn will help to protect those who are most vulnerable.”
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