The self-isolation period for people who have tested positive for Covid has been reduced to five days from today.

People who have had the virus will now be able to end their isolation period after five full days if they test negative on both day five and day six and do not have a temperature.

However, those who are still positive on their lateral flow tests must stay in isolation until they have had two consecutive negative tests taken on separate days.

Consecutive negative tests must be reported on before individuals return to their job or education if leaving self-isolation earlier than the full 10 day period.

The new government plans aim to support essential public services and keep supply chains running over the winter.

Health secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Following a robust review of the evidence, we have reduced the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.

“This is a balanced and proportionate approach to restore extra freedoms and reduce the pressure on essential public services over the winter.

“It is crucial people only stop self-isolating after two negative tests to ensure you are not infectious.

“Vaccinations remain our best defence against COVID-19, offering significant protection against infection and hospitalisation – and I urge everybody eligible to take up the offer and get boosted now.”

Those who leave self-isolation on or after day six are strongly advised to wear face coverings and limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces.

They are also advised to work from home if they can do so and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with the virus.

Existing public health measures will remain in place, such as the mandatory wearing of face masks in shops, theatres and cinemas, with the exception of areas where it is not practical such as pubs and restaurants.

Proof of vaccination or a negative test will also be required for those attending large events such as football matches, concerts and nightclubs.