UK mulls scrapping quarantine for Covid contacts

People wearing face masks walk past ambulances at The Royal London Hospital in London, Britain.

London, (Asian independent) Daily lateral flow tests could be used as a way to prevent home-isolation in the UK for those who have been in contact with someone tested positive for coronavirus, British media reported.

Currently, these people are required to quarantine at home for 10 days but the measure could be scrapped if a trial in England, which gives daily lateral flow tests to as many as 40,000 people, is successful, Xinhua news agency quoted a Sky News report as saying on Sunday.

“This new pilot could help shift the dial in our favour by offering a viable alternative to self-isolation for people who are contacts of positive Covid-19 cases, and one that would allow people to carry on going to work and living their lives,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The trial will begin on May 9 and close contacts of people with coronavirus will be contacted by phone and sent seven days of the tests if they decide to participate in the study.

They will have to test themselves every morning for seven days and will be exempt from the home isolation rule every day they test negative, as long as they do not show any symptoms of coronavirus.

Lateral flow tests give results in about 30 minutes but are considered less sensitive than PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, whose results usually return in 24 hours or so, according to the BBC.

More than 34.3 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

Experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, the UK is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants, particularly those first emerged in South Africa, Brazil and India, and the third wave of pandemic on the European continent.