The Welsh Government have issued a joint statement with Scotland, Northern Ireland and England’s Chief Medical Officers saying that the extension to self-isolation from 7 to 10 days will apply across the whole UK.
Wales’ CMO Dr Frank Atherton made the statement as concerns grow about a potential second wave of coronavirus following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
Earlier England’s Health Secretary said the change was in response to the fact that he could “see” a second wave of coronavirus “coming”.
“In symptomatic people Covid-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after, symptoms begin,” Frank Atheron said.
“It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing.
“Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset.
“We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result.
“This will help provide additional protection to others in the community. This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission.”
Earlier England’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that the decrease in coronavirus cases in the country had “flattened off”.
He told Sky News he was “worried” about a second wave, saying it was “starting to roll across Europe” and warned the UK must “do everything to prevent it reaching these shores”.
In reality, the coronavirus case rate in England is already higher than other European countries, apart from Spain. Deaths continue to be higher in England than other European countries.
“It’s something I worry about and I worry about it because we can see it coming,” Matt Hancock said.
Meanwhile, new research suggests one in every 14 Britons has already been infected with the virus.
The Oxford University study of more than 20,000 people indicated that 7.1% of the population have coronavirus antibodies, which appear in someone’s blood after they are infected.
England suffered the highest number of excess deaths during the coronavirus pandemic out of any country in Europe, the Office for National Statistics has said.
In new data published on Thursday the ONS said the length of England’s outbreak and the fact it had one of the highest peak deaths of any country combined resulted “in England having the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole”.
The statistics authority said England’s outbreak was also notably more broadly spread across the country than in other European nations, where outbreaks were contained in concentrated areas.
Excess mortality is a measure of how many more people than usual died during a given period. The ONS says that this is the “best way of comparing the mortality impact internationally”.
This is because it “avoids the problem of different countries recording COVID-19 deaths in different ways, and also takes into account the indirect impact of the pandemic, such as deaths from other causes that might be related to delayed access to healthcare”, the authority says.