Covid news: UK cases and deaths drop as isolation cut to five days and departing Van-Tam praised

By Thomas Kingsley,Sam Hancock and Maroosha Muzaffar
Health secretary announces Covid isolation period cut to five days from next week

The UK reported 109,133 new coronavirus cases and 335 deaths this afternoon, both of which are down on the last few days with infections in particular dropping by around 20,000.

It comes after Covid-related fatalities reached their highest number since last February, with 379 and 398, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Earlier, Sajid Javid announced the isolation period after testing positive for Covid in England will be cut to five full days from next Monday, to get staff back to work faster. People will still have to test negative on the final two days of isolation.

During the same Commons session, while paying tribute to England’s outgoing deputy chief medical officer, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, the shadow health secretary commended him not only for “providing outstanding public service” through Covid – but for “working with the PM” for as long as he had.

“JVT already has a knighthood, but working with the prime minister, he must have the patience of a saint,” Labour’s Wes Streeting said.

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