Home Tests Could Replace Self Isolation

Those found to have been in close contact with someone with Covid may not have to self-isolate for 10 days, if a new trial is successful.

The trial will ask close contacts to take rapid lateral flow tests for seven consecutive mornings, with no requirement to quarantine providing the tests are negative and they do not show any symptoms of Covid.

About 40,000 people in England will be invited to take part in the trial from next week.

A study of the NHS Test and Trace system published last month revealed many people do not fully self-isolate when asked to do so.

Men, younger people and parents with young children were less likely to self-isolate – as were those from more working-class backgrounds, people in financial hardship and key workers.

It is hoped the trial could provide evidence to reduce the length of time contacts of positive cases need to isolate.

“This study will help to determine whether we can deploy daily testing for contacts to potentially reduce the need for self-isolation, while still ensuring that chains of transmission are stopped,” said Professor Isabel Oliver, Public Health England’s national infection service director.

“Contacts of cases are at higher risk of infection so testing them is a very effective way of preventing further spread.”