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UK Government to increase coronavirus self-isolation period ‘from seven days to ten’

Katie Collins/EMPICS Entertainment

UK Government to increase coronavirus self-isolation period ‘from seven days to ten’

People in England with coronavirus symptoms will be expected to stay at home for ten rather than seven days under new government guidance set to be unveiled on Thursday.

The Telegraph reported that Health Secretary Matt Hancock and deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam will announce the move amid concern about a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

It is unclear whether the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow England’s lead, but previous guidance has been used across the UK.

Currently people across the UK are told to stay at home for seven days if they have any symptoms of the virus.

The Scottish Government tells people living with a symptomatic person to isolate for 14 days, or seven days should they develop symptoms. 

But Professor Van Tam is expected to point to new research suggesting that this period of isolation should be extended by three days.

The Government is also said to be looking at ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period imposed on travellers coming back to the UK from countries deemed “high risk”, including Spain.

A shift in the self-isolation period from 14 to ten days could be coupled with a move to reduce the quarantine period for all arrivals into the UK from high risk countries.

Boris Johnson on Tuesday did not rule out reducing the quarantine requirement amid anger from holidaymakers and airlines about the move to end travel corridor arrangements with Spain.

The anticipated move meanwhile comes on the day the Government is set to review the month-long local lockdown that has been in force in the city of Leicester.

On Wednesday Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents healthcare organisations in England, said a fresh uptick of COVID-19 cases across the country could challenge “exhausted staff”.

He told the first public hearing of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus: "I would say in relation to the second spike issue or something coming, the levels of concern among our members — the people who are leading NHS trusts, who are leading in primary care and all levels in the systems - is very high.

"There's real concern about winter and the compounding factors there, but also about an earlier spike."

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