The length of time that people in England with symptoms of coronavirus must self-isolate should be increased to 10 days.
Currently, those who have a new continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of taste or smell, must self-isolate for seven days.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce Thursday that the period is extended.
It comes after the Prime Minister warned of a second wave of infection.
It’s unclear whether decentralized nations will follow the lead of the UK government, but the current directions have been adopted UK-wide.
There have been concerns about several local outbreaks across the UK, including in Oldham, Wrexham and Staffordshire.
The UK’s requirement for people who test positive to isolate for seven days was still low – many other countries need 10 days or more.
With the coronavirus being new, there is a lack of certainty about how long a person remains contagious.
Research shows that a person can become infected two days before symptoms appear and continue to be contagious during the time they are showing symptoms. For the most part, it doesn’t last longer than seven days.
Those with symptoms for longer are already advised to continue to self-isolate.
But the decision to insist on everyone’s isolation for 10 days was likely made for a number of reasons.
There is plenty of evidence that people continue to shed the virus after symptoms have passed – although it is not clear how much of a risk this poses for passing the infection on to another person.
Another factor that may have played a role in the decision is that generalized testing is starting to detect people at the asymptomatic stage.
Under current rules, those who share a household with someone showing symptoms of Covid-19 must self-isolate for 14 days.
Those returning to the UK from certain countries must also be quarantined for 14 days – a move which has sparked complaints from travel agencies.
According to the Daily Telegraph, ministers are also looking for a way to reduce the current 14-day quarantine period for arrivals to the UK, which means quarantine and self-isolation periods could be normalized.
What are the current self-isolation rules?
Isolation means staying at home and not leaving it.
People who show symptoms of coronavirus must self-isolate for seven days and get tested. Symptoms include:
- a loss or change in your normal sense of taste or smell
Other members of their household must self-isolate for 14 days and not leave their homes.
If your test is positive, you will be contacted by contact tracers, which will determine who else you may have transmitted the infection to.
Anyone deemed to be at risk must isolate themselves for 14 days from the point of contact.
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