UK shortens Covid-19 isolation interval to 7 days in England

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid speaks during a press conference on Downing Street on October 20, 2021 in London, England.

Toby Melville | WPA pool | Getty Images News

LONDON – The UK government has cut the mandatory Covid-19 self-isolation period in England from 10 days to seven days for those who receive negative lateral flow tests for two consecutive days.

Health Minister Sajid Javid announced on Wednesday that those who receive a negative lateral flow result on days six and seven of their quarantine period will be allowed to exit isolation to minimize disruption and remain “after expert clinical advice”.

the The UK is currently struggling with an increase in the highly portable Omicron variant, with fears that health services could be overwhelmed and economic activity depressed.

So far, the UK government has refused to emulate a number of countries in mainland Europe who strict containment measures imposed about the holiday season.

The mandatory isolation period was reduced from 14 days to 10 days at the end of 2020 as the alpha variant spread rapidly in different regions of the UK and the quarantine requirement for vaccinated close contacts of positive cases during the delta wave was lifted earlier this year.

Irene Petersen, a professor of epidemiology and health informatics at University College London, told CNBC on Wednesday that reducing isolation time is a good move, given that most people are not contagious beyond the seventh day and the requirement for consecutive negative tests most are Will reveal anomalies.

“I’ve looked at the sensitivity a little, and if you say a single test has a sensitivity of around 90%, if you combine the sensitivity of the two tests, you went up at 99%, and that means we will few have that are false negatives, “she said.

“Even if you consider that we are only, say, 10% contagious at this point, it would be less than 1 in 1,000 people who would be false negative afterwards. So I now think it is a sensible move to cut it down to seven days. “

Antiviral Advancement

The UK government also announced on Wednesday that it had signed two contracts for a total of 4.25 million courses of Covid-19 antiviral pills.

Pfizer announced on Wednesday that it will provide the country with an additional 2.5 million doses of its COVID-19 pill, Paxlovid, with a total of 2.75 million expected to be delivered over the course of 2022.

The UK government has also ordered 1.75 million additional courses of the pill Lagevrio (molnupiravir) from Merck Sharp and Dohme.

“This is a mammoth deal for the UK government and for patients across the country who will benefit from these antivirals in the coming months,” Javid said in a statement on Wednesday.

Molnupiravir is currently being launched in a national study called PANORAMIC, which is being carried out by Oxford University in close collaboration with centers for general practitioners.

“If you are 50 years of age or older, or have an underlying health condition and tested positive for Covid-19, sign up for the study as soon as possible and benefit from this remarkable treatment,” added Javid.