Virus isolation period to be increased from seven to ten days

Grant Boone
July 31, 2020

England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, updated the isolation guidance for the entire United Kingdom and was effective immediately.

Anyone currently self-isolating who may be nearing the end of their seven days - for example on day six of isolation - will now need to stay inside until they have reached 10 days.

People who test positive for the novel coronavirus or show symptoms in the United Kingdom must now self-isolate for at least 10 days, rather than seven, it was announced by the country's chief medical officers on Thursday.

If symptoms other than a cough or the loss of the sense of taste or smell persist, then patients must continue to self-isolate, even if they last longer than 10 days, according to the guidance.

"I am anxious about a second wave".

A statement from the four chief medical officers across United Kingdom said that the advice was being changed on the back of data showing that people may still be infectious between days 7 to 9.

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It comes after a surge of infections in some areas in the United Kingdom, and claims that the country could be two weeks behind Europe, where there has been a spike in coronavirus cases.

'Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset, ' the statement said. "This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission", they added.

"We want to take a precautionary approach to make sure that we can keep people in this country as a safe as possible", Hancock said.

It comes as the Prime Minister recently warned a "second wave" could be as close as two weeks away, based on the trajectories of other countries in Europe.

Hancock said the government is working on using testing to cut the 14-day quarantine period for those arriving from countries which have seen spikes in cases of the virus, but ruled out any imminent change to the rules.

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