Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

Coronavirus: UK extends quarantine for people with symptoms

Medical experts said it was ‘particularly important to protect those who have been shielding’

British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, who fears a second wave of coronavirus, bumps elbows. Reuters
British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, who fears a second wave of coronavirus, bumps elbows. Reuters

The UK has increased the self-isolation period for people showing coronavirus symptoms to 10 days from seven as health authorities seek to prevent a renewed surge in cases of the disease.

Extending the quarantine period comes as the country tackles local-outbreaks in places such as Leicester and Oldham, and brings the UK in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.

England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty and his counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, updated the isolation guidance for the entire UK and was effective immediately.

It was "particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission", they said.

The change was made on the "low but real possibility" people are still infectious 7-9 days after first showing symptoms, they added.

While case numbers across the country are far below the numbers seen in March and April, recent local outbreaks show the risk of a new wave of infections.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of a resurgence of coronavirus across Europe and urged the public to be "vigilant".

England suffered the most excess deaths in Europe during the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the first five months of the year, the UK's Office for National Statistics confirmed on Thursday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC's Today programme he was looking for a way to reduce the 14-day self-isolation for people returning from countries which are also tackling coronavirus outbreaks.

"We want to do everything we possibly can to protect people here. The virus moves fast and so must we, " he said.

“We can see sadly a second wave of coronavirus that is starting to roll across Europe and we want to do everything we possibly can to protect people here, " he added.

Updated: July 30, 2020 08:23 PM

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