Those who test positive for coronovirus or show symptoms in the UK should now self-isolate for at least 10 days instead of seven.
The change, announced by Britain’s chief medical officers, comes as ministers try to avoid a resurgence of the virus.
Until now, those showing major symptoms – a new persistent cough, a loss of temperature or taste or smell – had to self-isolate for at least a week.
The new advice is in line with the guidance of the World Health Organization.
Chief medical officials said the change is “particularly important to protect those who prescribe and do it before autumn and winter when we can see increased community transmission”.
This comes after the Prime Minister warned of signs of a “second wave” of epidemic in some parts of Europe.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast before the announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government wanted to take a “precautionary approach” and “protect people from the wave that reaches our shores”.
Concern has also been expressed about a number of local outbreaks across the UK including Oldham, Worksham and Staffordshire.
Meanwhile, the government is also expected to review sanctions in Leicester on Thursday, a month after the city was put into extended lockdown following a spike in cases.
Britain’s requirement for people who tested positive to isolate for seven days was always low – many other countries require 10 days or longer.
As the coronovirus is new, there is still a lack of certainty about how long a person remains infectious, which is why there are a wide variety of approaches.
Research shows that the most contagious period is a few days before and after the onset of symptoms – this is in which it is a difficult virus.
But UK health officials say there is enough evidence to point to a “low, but tangible” risk of transmission even for people with mild to moderate illness from seven to 10 days.
This is a decision that could have taken weeks even months before it came true.
But officials are describing it as a “value judgment” based on several reasons.
The availability of comprehensive testing only meant isolating those with a positively confirmed infection – a lack of testing in the first pandemic meant that a blanket approach had to be taken, so someone with symptoms was isolated. Was asked to do.
It is also about sending an important signal. The level of infection is low, but the message is clear: we cannot be complacent.
Professor Peter Openshaw, who is part of a body advising the government on respiratory viruses, told the BBC Today program that most transmission occurs “at the time of symptoms developing, possibly two days earlier”.
However, he said 10 days would be a “safe margin” as there have been “rare cases” in which people have been able to pass the virus for nine days.
“We don’t really know if there’s really a lot of transmission going on in the last two of those days, but I think that usually in the context of trying to stress the virus now … I can understand that Why the government wants to present them changes, ”he said.
People returning to the UK from some countries are also being asked to quarantine for 14 days – a move that has given rise to complaints from travel firms.
The minister is also looking for a way to reduce the current 14-day quarantine period for arrivals in the UK, meaning that the time period for quarantine and self-isolation can be standardized to 10 days.
Mr Hancock reported today that the government is using the test to reduce the quarantine period – but there will not be imminent changes.
However, he said that in the coming days new countries could be added to the quarantine list.
The government held a meeting to discuss the matter added to the weekend in Spain on Wednesday evening, to include a list of those not exempting other countries from the quarantine regime.
A senior government source told the BBC that Luxembourg is likely to be added this week but this time – numbers will be tracked in Belgium.
On Wednesday, figures from the leading travel and airline industry called for coronavirus testing at airports in the UK, but the source said that “any new system should be workable and at the moment it is not”.
Mr Hancock told Breakfast that the “big scientific challenge” with the arrival of the tests at the border is that people “can provoke the disease for several days without exhibiting any symptoms, and it will not show up in a test”. .
Officials said 83 people died of coronovirus in the UK, taking the total number of deaths to 45,961.
It confirmed 763 and registered a total of 301,455 cases.
What are the rules on self-isolation?
Self-isolation means staying home and not leaving it.
Those who have either tested positive for coronovirus or who have been shown symptoms should isolate themselves for at least 10 days, and those who show symptoms should arrange to have them tested.
- A loss of, or a change in, your general knowledge of taste or smell
If they feel unwell even after that initial period, they should continue self-isolation.
Other members of their household should set aside for 14 days and not leave their homes.
If you test positive, you will be contacted by contact trainers, who will establish who you have gone through for the infection.
Any person who is in danger must disassociate themselves from the point of contact for 14 days.
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