UK set to cut Covid self-isolation to 10 days after Cummings and Whitty row


Sumary of UK set to cut Covid self-isolation to 10 days after Cummings and Whitty row:

  • The Covid self-isolation period is expected to be cut from two weeks to 10 days after a row involving Prof Chris Whitty and Dominic Cummings, who had been pushing for a more drastic change, the Guardian understands..
  • The planned change is a compromise hammered out at No 10 after Whitty, England chief medical officer, rejected proposals instigated by Cummings, the prime minister most senior aide, for a more dramatic cut in the quarantine period, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions..
  • According to the source, Whitty discovered on Tuesday last week that a press release had been drafted to use the rapid tests to halve self-isolation to seven days, with the eventual goal of scrapping the self-isolation period entirely by offering tests to people as soon as they are notified of a contact with an infected person..
  • Whitty is said to have been implacably opposed on public health grounds, arguing that the incubation period for the virus was too long to allow immediate testing and the rapid tests would fail to detect every infected person..
  • Separately, experts have expressed surprise at the size of the contract of £500m awarded to Innova, a California-based company owned by an equity house that has bought rights to a lateral flow test made in China by Xiamen Biotime Biotechnology..
  • The tests are being supplied in the UK by a little-known micro-company, Disruptive Nanotechnology, which is based in a house in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire..
  • It is understood that Disruptive Nanotechnology helped Innova navigate the bureaucratic formalities to get an assessment from Public Health England labs at Porton Down..
  • how they work and what they show Lateral flow tests can give results within half an hour but detailed data on accuracy for the Innova test from the Porton Down evaluation has not been disclosed..
  • As the Guardian reported last week, Innova product has not been designed for mass testing, and its leaflet is open in saying it is for people who have symptoms rather than those who are asymptomatic….

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