Is extending the self-isolation period really necessary?
By Joe Harker
Anyone who shows symptoms of coronavirus or tests positive will have to go into self-isolation for a longer period of time.
The rules are changing to reflect a difference in the situation of the pandemic, with new scientific evidence suggesting seven days of quarantine is not enough.
People who come into contact with those who need to go into quarantine will still be required to go into a 14 day period of self-isolation.
The chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are in agreement that anyone showing symptoms or testing positive for Covid-19 needs to be in self-isolation for 10 days, not seven.
Their advice has changed after concerns over a second wave of the virus in Europe and the uncertainty of the pandemic during the winter months.
They said: "Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with COVID-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 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 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result."
The Counter Claim:
However, there are fears that the public are starting to lose their sense of solidarity that comes with the lockdown and quarantine.
Behavioural scientists have suspected that people would get tired of restrictions and begin to act out after a while, with people feeling more divided than ever.
Jill Rutter, director of strategy at the British Future think tank said: "There's a risk that past divides are re-emerging as society starts to re-open.
"The shared experience of lockdown made many people feel more connected to their neighbours and local community. Now that sense of togetherness is starting to fray."
Meanwhile, there was still a sense of confusion and dismay over what the government has asked people to do.
If a mild infection of the virus can last longer than seven days after symptoms show then going into self-isolation for just a week could mean a person is out and about while they are still infected and have the capacity to infect others.
With the lockdown continuing to be lifted and a risk of a second wave present it is more important than ever to follow the advice of scientific experts.