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Why self-isolating is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus

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According to news reports, a study led by King’s College London shows that fewer than one-fifth of people in the UK who develop coronavirus symptoms are following the rules and self-isolating at home.

Just 18 per cent of people involved with the study, who developed symptoms between March and August, said they had actually self-isolated, and only 11 per cent of those in contact with someone testing positive for coronavirus said they had stayed at home for the required two weeks.

But the recent rise in COVID-19 cases here in Devon and across the country, in all age groups and communities, are a stark warning to us all that we need to keep working together to slow the spread of the virus.

Public Health England has recently blogged about how vitally important self-isolating is to stop coronavirus from spreading in our community, particularly to people who could become very sick if they catch the virus.

You should self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms and are waiting for a test
  • if your test is positive
  • if you’re notified by NHS Test and Trace or the new NHS COVID-19 app that you’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case

It means that you must stay at home.  No work, no school, no visiting other public areas.  Don’t use public transport. Avoid visitors to your home.  Ask friends or family to help with the things you need doing, like shopping or running errands for you.

But for how long?

If you’ve got any of the symptoms, you must self-isolate straight away and for 10 days.  Don’t wait for your test result.

If you don’t have symptoms but you’re told to self-isolate, you must do so for 14 days.  If someone in your house has the virus, you need to continue to self-isolate for 14 days from the when that person first developed symptoms.

It’s that long because you are at risk of developing COVID-19 for the full 14 days.

Just because you’ve had a negative test still does not mean that you can stop self-isolating early, because you could still put other people at risk of catching it.  It’s very clear.

Many people are able to make plans with friends or family to see them through, but there is help for self-isolaters who don’t have others to call.

NHS Volunteer Responders or mutual aid groups can help.

If you are worried or anxious, there are online resources that could help, including Every Mind Matters

And there’s financial help to people if you have to be off work and self-isolating.

The simple message is…

…self-isolating for the full duration may well be a frustrating thing to do, but it’s a very necessary part of stopping this pandemic.  So, if we’re called upon to do it, or we develop symptoms, then let’s just do it and do it properly.