With tens of thousands of people testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, many Britons have gone through the disease and have now recovered.
Although the exact number of people who have returned to normal health in the UK is not known, anyone who has experienced symptoms of coronavirus should have lived at least seven days in isolation (and 14 days if someone in the household develops symptoms).
This isolation, defined in government guidelines to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, aims to prevent the spread of the virus.
Sky News spoke to NHS general practitioner Dr. Ellie Cannon to learn more about how and when people who may have had a coronavirus can start interacting with the people they live with again.
If someone has had COVID-19 symptoms, for example, when can they start interacting with people again?
Dr. Ellie: Basically when they disappeared seven days after the first day of symptoms or after all of their symptoms have completely disappeared.
Does this mean that if the person has completed seven days of isolation but still has symptoms, should he remain isolated?
Dr. Ellie: Absolutely, yes.
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What if the person’s symptoms go away before seven days, should they come out of isolation?
Dr. Ellie: No, it’s a minimum of seven days for everyone.
If after seven days their symptoms have completely disappeared, can they return to normal behavior, as they would have done before the epidemic?
Dr. Ellie: No, then they should practice normal social distancing like everyone else. Their chances of transmitting the virus are very low.
A person infected with the virus can spread it to others. Even after the isolation for seven days and after the symptoms are gone, does a person continue to get rid of the virus and for how long?
Dr. Ellie: We don’t know for sure. It can last up to a month, but it doesn’t mean that you are contagious all this time. It is complicated. You may have the virus but may not be able to transmit it once the symptoms have subsided.
Certainly, people are more contagious just before symptoms and at the time of symptoms.
There is some evidence to suggest that viral shedding can take up to two to three weeks in some cases, but if you don’t cough or sneeze, the chances of transmitting the virus go down.
Once self-isolation is complete, can they start doing things like talking closely or kissing family and friends they haven’t seen in a while?
Dr. Ellie: No, absolutely not. They have to do what we all do and only interact with their household this way.
The only people they can talk to within two meters are those in their homes. The person will have had the virus and will no longer be able to transmit it. If their family incubates it, they already have it. Cuddling within the household is therefore not a problem.