United Kingdom

Only one in ten stay at home for two weeks when told to self-isolate, Sage documents reveal

Only one in ten stay at home for two weeks after being told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, Sage documents revealed yesterday.

Of those who were told they had been in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case, just 10.9 per cent isolated for the following 14 days.

The alarming figures undermine the premise of the Test and Trace system, which aims to prevent the spread of the virus.

The alarming figures, that just 10.9 per cent would isolate for 14 days, undermine the premise of the Test and Trace system, which aims to prevent the spread of the virus (stock image used)

And they were released a day after Boris Johnson said he 'shares people's frustrations' with the service and that it needs to improve.

The main reasons people gave for not properly quarantining were not developing symptoms, not thinking it was necessary to stay away from those outside the household, or popping to the shops for food.

The figures were revealed in documents by Sage – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. 

The study, carried out by King's College London, was discussed at their meeting in September.

Researchers collected data from a sample of 31,000 people between March 2 and August 5. 

Based on answers to an online questionnaire, the team found that only one in ten said they had isolated for two weeks when told to by the Test and Trace scheme. 

This is much lower than the 65 per cent who said they intended to quarantine if they received the alert.

Another reason they gave for leaving their homes was having a dependent child in the house, the survey revealed.

The study also found that 23.9 per cent said they would not share details of their close contacts with the tracing service if they test positive for Covid-19.

The main reasons people gave for not properly quarantining were not developing symptoms or not thinking it was necessary to stay away from those outside (stock image used)

The main reasons for this were not believing the system was effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus and not knowing if your data would be secure or confidential.

The survey also found over half of the sample could not identify key coronavirus symptoms and that less than one in five said they stayed at home if they developed symptoms.

Dr Michael Head from the University of Southampton said: 'This highlights a worrying low level of adherence to guidance around self-isolation.' 

He added that the Government needs to provide 'practical and financial support to encourage people to stay at home'.

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