People with coronavirus symptoms are now being told to self-isolate for at least ten days – instead of seven.
Chief medical officers from the United Kingdom’s four nations have agreed there is a low but real possibility an individual can be infectious seven to nine days after the beginning of symptoms.
The most common symptoms are a continuous cough, fever/high temperature and a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.
A statement from Scotland’s Dr Gregor Smith, England’s Professor Chris Whitty, Northern Ireland’s Dr Michael McBride and Wales’ Dr Frank Atherton has been released.
It said: “In symptomatic people Covid-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after symptoms begin. It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing.
‘Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between seven and nine days after illness onset.
“We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from seven to ten days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result.
“This will help provide additional protection to others in the community.
“This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission.”