UK health chiefs say recommended Covid isolation is a day shorter in the US


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Health officials have clarified that the recommended COVID self-isolation period in the US is shorter than in the UK, at a time when the prime minister is considering reducing it to five days.


The UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA) had previously said the isolation period in the two countries was effectively the same.

It said the recommended minimum of six full days in the UK is counted from the onset of symptoms, while in the US, a five-day isolation begins from the day of testing positive, which can be several days after the first symptoms.


However, the UKHSA has updated their blog post, which now states: “In the UK we recommend that at the point you have symptoms or test positive, whichever is first, self-care for at least six full days.” – Isolate.”

It continued: “In the United States, the advice is to self-isolate for at least five full days from a single point of view.”

And the blog post concludes: “We believe that allowing people to self-isolate after two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven is currently the optimal approach. It supports people who are unlikely to be contagious to go back to work and resume other activities, but continues to protect the wider population from infection.


The UKHSA said the US CDC health protection agency clarified that its isolation period began when symptoms first appeared.

The CDC reduced the recommended isolation period there to five days in December.

Boris Johnson is facing calls from lawmakers and business chiefs to follow suit in the UK to help ease staff absenteeism in the economy and public services.


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been told he wants to shorten the period of self-isolation (Stephen Russo/PA Wire) , PA Wire

On Monday, the prime minister said he would “act according to science” on potentially reducing the time period to five days.

The period has already been reduced from 10 days to seven as long as the person in isolation has negative lateral flow test results, and Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said “if it is possible to go further we will do so”. .

According to the Daily Telegraph, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is among ministers keen on the economic benefits of reducing the period to five days, while Education Secretary Nadim Jahvi has suggested the move could help ease staffing problems. may help.

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