A REDUCTION of the Covid self-isolation period makes Cumbria's health boss ‘a bit nervous’.

People in England can end their coronavirus isolation after five full days. But people will need to produce negative lateral flow tests on days five and six of their isolation.

Ministers had been under pressure to reduce the isolation period - which was previously seven days - to help address staff shortages across the economy and public services by allowing people to return to work earlier.

According to recent seven-day data for Cumbria, the county has 7,284 confirmed coronavirus cases - down by 6,512 (10 per cent).

“It makes me a bit nervous. The isolation time being cut does mean that by most estimates we’ll still be releasing seven to 10 per cent of people from isolation when they’re actually still infectious,” Colin Cox, director of public health for Cumbria, told the BBC.

“So, while it will get people back to work a day faster the risk is you’re letting them back into the workforce while still being infectious and therefore spreading the infection in the workplace.

“So, I think it’s a risky strategy and there is a distinct risk of more people going off sick.”

Meanwhile the continued drop in UK Covid cases indicates the Omicron wave may well be ‘turning around’, a leading expert advising the Government has said.

Prof Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), said the latest case figures are ‘cautiously good news’ and he hopes the country may have a ‘flu-type’ relationship with the virus by the end of the year.

The latest data shows a 38 per cent drop over the last seven days across the UK in the numbers testing positive for Covid-19, with 70,924 new cases reported on Sunday.

Prof Tildesley said the changes to isolation rules do come with ‘increased risk’ but said it is a ‘practical thing’.

He added: “We’re seeing an awful lot of absences, and it’s particularly concerning in healthcare at the moment actually, so if we can reduce the isolation period then that will allow more people to get back to work.”