Coronavirus: Self-isolation for people who come into contact with positive COVID-19 cases could be reduced

·2-min read

Contacts of people infected with coronavirus may have to self-isolate for as little as seven days amid concerns about levels of public compliance with the NHS Test and Trace system.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told Sky's Sophy Ridge that plans to reduce the quarantine period are under consideration.

He said: "Teams are looking at what we can do around those isolation periods. This will be scientifically-led.

"We are not ready to make a final decision or announcement on that yet but we want to make sure we are moving with science."

It is understood that teams are looking at cutting the current 14-day period of isolation for contacts of those infected with the virus to between seven and 10 days.

The move, which would not apply to those who test positive for the disease, comes amid growing dissatisfaction with the performance of the system from ministers and MPs.

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Boris Johnson was said to have become "disillusioned" with statistics provided by the service after they proved to be wrong, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

At the same time, there were said to be concerns that the prospect of a lengthy period indoors if they are contacted by Test and Trace is deterring people from co-operating.

The Telegraph quoted a Number 10 source as saying: "Compliance is not as high as we would like and self-isolation is key if we are going to beat the virus."

It comes after NHS Test and Trace, headed by Conservative peer Baroness Dido Harding, hit a record low last week - with just 59.6% of the contacts of people who tested positive for the disease being successfully contacted and told to quarantine.

Senior Tory backbencher Sir Bernard Jenkin launched a scathing attack on the performance of the system, saying public consent and co-operation was "breaking down", and called for Baroness Harding to be sacked.