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(Reuters) - Britain's government is looking at how long those exposed to COVID-19 need to quarantine, Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis told Sky News on Sunday, commenting on reports that the self-isolation period could be reduced from 14 days.
Like many other European countries, the UK is facing a surge in infections. It has so far reported 884,457 coronavirus cases with 44,795 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
The government has ordered those in England identified as being exposed to the virus to stay at home for 14 days, or face fines of up to 10,000 pounds ($13,043).
"Teams are looking at what we can do around those isolation periods, this will be scientifically led," Lewis said when asked about reports the period could be reduced to 10 or seven days.
"We're not ready to make a final decision or announcement on that yet, but we want to make sure we're moving with the science, and indeed again, allowing people to live and work within this virus as best as we can."
Lewis denied a report in the Sunday Times that some city workers and company bosses could be exempt from the quarantine period. He said any changes to the rules would apply to everybody.
($1 = 0.7667 pounds)
(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru and William James in London; Editing by Frances Kerry and Catherine Evans)