Coronavirus self-isolation period expected to be extended to ten days

30 July 2020, 06:43

File photo: Shoppers wearing face masks walk along Oxford Street in London
File photo: Shoppers wearing face masks walk along Oxford Street in London. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The self-isolation period for those with coronavirus symptoms will be extended to ten days, according to reports.

Deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, is expected to announce the change in advice, which currently states those with symptoms should isolate for at least seven days, according to The Times and Telegraph.

It comes amid health leaders' fears of a "second spike" and an ongoing row over 14-day quarantine measures put in place for travellers returning from Spain.

Advice for those who have been in close contact with someone with the virus will remain unchanged.

Guidance from the NHS also said that people must self-isolate for 14 days if you live with, or are in a bubble with, someone that has symptoms.

Health bosses have warned of "very high" levels of concern about the possibility of a second spike in coronavirus cases.

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Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that the combination of a spike of cases with "exhausted staff" while the NHS tries to rebuild services could prove "challenging".

He told the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) 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."

The move also follows a diplomatic row over the requirement that travellers from Spain would have to quarantine for a period of 14 days on their arrival into the UK.

Speaking on his return to the UK on Wednesday having cut short a family holiday in Spain, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he could not rule out more countries being added to the list of nations under the Government's quarantine restrictions.

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He said: "We absolutely have to act the moment we get the information and that's exactly what happened with Spain as we saw and as we've seen over the weekend where there was over 6,100 cases - the highest since the peak in March over there.

"It was the right thing to do and it's why the whole of the UK did (it) at the same time.

"I can't therefore rule out other countries having to go into the quarantine as well."

Mr Shapps said he could understand the frustrations of those impacted by the measures, although he insisted that it was "essential" that the Government acted when it did.

Some travel companies, including Tui and Jet2, have already announced that flights to destinations in Spain will be suspended into August.

Mr Shapps said: "I very much understand (the frustrations), it obviously had an impact on me and my family and I'm very, very sorry and upset for the thousands of Brits who are either away or perhaps even haven't managed to go away this summer as well to Spain.

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"But it's absolutely essential we acted when we did, it's why all four nations of the United Kingdom acted together and the figures since have turned out to justify that action.

"We have to, I think, have a clear message and make sure that we act by adding entire countries to that list for the time being."