Coronavirus self-isolation period extended to ten days amid 'second wave' warning

30 July 2020, 10:07

England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer made the announcement on Thursday morning
England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer made the announcement on Thursday morning. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The length of time people with coronavirus symptoms across the UK will have to self-isolate for is to be increased from seven to 10 days, England's deputy chief medical officer has confirmed.

The news comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned LBC of a second wave of the virus "rising in Europe".

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said on Thursday that the period must increase from the current rule of seven days because of the risk individuals may still be able to spread Covid-19.

He told reporters the change for those who experience the key symptoms of a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell is needed because of the "low but real possibility of infectiousness" up to 10 days.

Earlier Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC that the decision would be based "on the science" adding it was "clinically led."

He said: "I can't steal his thunder but what I will say is we will always do what is necessary to protect people and we're guided by the clinical judgment, by the science in this."

Scientists at Cambridge University have said it is "very likely" that most regions in England are close to the point at which the virus begins to spread exponentially.

Mr Hancock also warned travellers that new countries could be added to the quarantine list in the coming days after passengers arriving in the UK from Spain were ordered to isolate for two weeks as cases there increased.

He said ministers are looking at ways to reduce the 14-day period, possibly by the use of multiple tests, amid pressure from the tourism industry.

But he said ministers are constantly considering whether to add countries to the quarantine list and when pressed if new nations could be added in the next few days, he replied: "Yes."