Coronavirus horror: Study into ‘limited’ test and trace shows issues with self-isolation

Dr Hilary outlines 'worry' for rise in coronavirus infections

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Under coronavirus restrictions, anyone who tests positive for the virus must self-isolate for 10 days. But new data from the Covid-19 rapid survey of adherence to interventions and responses (Corsair) study says not all Brits adhere to the rules.

Corsair researchers carried out 37 surveys from March 2 last year to January 27 this year.

The surveys, carried out by researchers from institutions including King’s College London, Public Health England and University College London, showed just 18 percent of those with coronavirus symptoms said they had requested a test.

Other findings, published in the British Medical Journal, showed 43 percent with symptoms in the previous seven days adhered to full self-isolation.

In the latest survey round, from January 25 to January 27, 50.8 percent identified a cough, high temperature or fever, and loss of sense of smell or taste as signs of COVID-19.

Only 22.2 percent of those who reported having Covid symptoms in the past seven days said they had requested a test.

The researchers also shared 71 percent intended to abide by self-isolation rules, and added adherence had improved over the course of a year.

They also shared men, younger people, those with young children were less likely to self-isolate and those from more working-class backgrounds, people experiencing greater financial hardship, and those working in key sectors were less likely to adhere to the rules.

Of the findings, the reports authors said: “With such low rates for symptom recognition, testing, and full self-isolation, the effectiveness of the current form of the UK’s test, trace, and isolate system is limited.”

James Rubin, an author on the paper, added to the Guardian: “What we don’t want is people who have got Covid out in the community, having contact with other people, spreading the infection.

“The more people with positive tests who self-isolate, the quicker we can get out of the restrictions we are currently in.”

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman defended Test and Trace after the report.

They said: “Since last May, NHS Test and Trace has contacted 3.2 million people who tested positive, and another 6.4 million of their contacts.

“Behind these numbers are countless lives saved and the latest ONS figures show that when people are asked to self-isolate, the overwhelming majority do so.

“It is vital that people continue to do their bit by isolating when they are asked to.

“As the prevalence of coronavirus falls, our testing and tracing system becomes more important in identifying and suppressing local outbreaks while also responding rapidly to the threat of new variants.”

The UK has rolled out 35,014,074 coronavirus vaccine doses as of yesterday.

Yesterday also saw another 4,052 cases and 43 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

In total, there have been 4,345,788 cases and 126,713 deaths in the UK.

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