Self-isolation period increases to 10 days for people who test positive for coronavirus
Posted on: Thursday 30 July 2020
From today, Thursday, July 30 people who have tested positive for coronavirus will have to self-isolate for 10 days instead of 7 days.
The 10-day period starts from the day symptoms start, or if asymptomatic, from the day a test is taken.
As before a test should be arranged within five days of symptoms starting. This will also apply to health and social care workers.
In a joint statement, the UK Chief Medical Officers said: “In symptomatic people Covid-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after symptoms begin. It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing.
“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 seven and nine days after illness onset.
“We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from seven to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result.
“This will help provide additional protection to others in the community. 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.”
Anyone who continues to be unwell or suffer from vomiting, breathlessness or fatigue after seven days of first showing symptoms of coronavirus should contact 111 or their GP.
Those who were self-isolating before Thursday 30 July do not need to continue to day 10, unless they are still experiencing relevant symptoms on day seven.
The 14-day isolation period for contacts of cases remains unchanged.
The exception to the 10 day isolation rule for positive cases is for hospital patients and care home residents where a 14 day isolation period continues to apply.
Household contacts of people with symptoms should continue to self-isolate for 14 days – if a household contact develops symptoms during this period then they should self-isolate for 10 days from day of onset of symptoms, and as before a test should be arranged within 5 days of symptoms starting.
The self-isolation period for people without symptoms but identified as positive by testing/screening including health care workers and other key workers will be 10 days from day of positive test. If symptoms develop during this 10 day isolation period then they should self-isolate for 10 days from the first day of the onset of symptoms.
Close contacts of confirmed cases should continue to self-isolate for 14 days – if a close contact of a confirmed case develops symptoms during this period then they should self-isolate for 10 days from day of onset of symptoms, and as before, a test should be arranged within five days of symptoms starting.
The UK Chief Medical Officers said they would continue to keep all evidence under review.