A new study has suggested that those infected with COVID-19 are minimally infectious after five days of symptoms, leading experts to believe that the current 10-day isolation period should be reduced by half.
'Viral load peaks pretty quickly'
The research, which was conducted by Oxford University's Pathogen Dynamics Group, found that four in ten infections are confirmed before there are any physical indicators. On the other hand, only 35% are detected within the first two days of symptoms.
According to the study, between five and ten days one has developed high temperatures, coughs and loss of sense, only two per cent of transmissions are passed on. Clinical lecturer in infectious diseases and medical virology, Dr Muge Cevik, explained that:
Given most transmission events happen very early on, the isolation period could be much shorter for the cases. Viral load peaks pretty quickly, so people are highly infectious within the first few days.
So, the current self-isolation guidelines, especially given the lack of support provided for sick leave, does not serve for the purpose.
Measures imposed by other countries
Currently, other countries on the European continent have already diminished the isolation period necessary post exposure. France, for instance, has cut it down from 14 days to seven last year. Similarly, the US has imposed the same period as the French if a negative test result is confirmed. Meanwhile, in Germany, quarantine is only necessary for five days.
During the week of 21 July, over 600,000 alerts were sent by the NHS Test and Trace app forcing more than half a million people to self-isolate in one week alone.