Self-isolation for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus will be shortened from 14 to 10 days across the UK from Monday 14 December.
The change will also apply to people instructed to quarantine after returning from high-risk countries.
And it means anyone who has been self-isolating for 10 days or more will be able to end their quarantine on Monday.
The change in self-isolation rules was announced in a statement from the four UK chief medical officers (CMOs) said: “After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10.
“People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days.”
People are most infectious around the time they first develop symptoms and by day 10, only about 2% will still be capable of passing on the virus to others.
The change in the rules reflects this low risk, which was judged not to justify asking people to self-isolate for longer periods.