COVID self-tests could replace quarantine

A trial will see if lateral flow tests can replace the need for quarantine for people who have had contact with a COVID-positive person.

Video Transcript

- The drinks are, finally, flowing, once again, at the Station Inn in Kidderminster, but landlord, Colin Faulkner, is worried. Soon after they reopened following the first lock down, his daughter tested positive for COVID. He had to isolate, which meant the pub had to close. He's concerned the same thing could happen, again, if anyone he's been in contact with tests positive.

COLIN FAULKNER: We've got to earn money, and the only way we can earn money is if we're open. If we get a ping, we have to shut. It's a nightmare again. We've been shut far, far too long.

Just got to fill that in then, all right?

- The need for contacts of people with COVID to quarantine for 10 days could now be scrapped if a new trial is successful. Many suspect people aren't always following the rules anyway.

- If you were contacted and told to isolate for 10 days, because you've been in contact with somebody that had it, would you stay at home for the whole ten days?

- I don't think I would now.

- If it was myself, then, yes, I would.

- Me personally, I live with elderly, so you know, you've got to keep them safe.

- For the study, 40,000 contacts of people with COVID will be able to take daily rapid lateral flow tests each morning instead of isolating. The tests take just 30 minutes to give a result. And if it's negative, they'll be able to go out, and about, and carry on with their day as normal.

- Write down elephant.

- It would be welcomed by the Kay family. Six-year-old Joshua has been isolating since a child at his school tested positive. His parents who are teachers have had to take it in turns to stay at home with him, affecting both their jobs.

BECKY KAY: It's been exceptionally frustrating, very hard work. It's also been worrying, as well, having Josh at home, missing out on education in these kind of crucial years. I think it would be fantastic if they could test them regularly. We'd have no problem testing him each day. He's had a lot of COVID tests already.

- The use of lateral flow tests in secondary schools has helped limit the spread of the virus, but the tests aren't as accurate as lab based PCR tests. And some question how reliable a system of self testing would be.

STEPHEN REICHER: The problem is that, if you say to people, well, don't isolate, just take a test, if they don't want to find themselves positive, because that will mean, they have to self isolate without support to do it, then it's very easy for people not to do the tests properly and to come up negative, while, in fact, they're positive.

BECKY JONHNSON: But with case numbers declining, the health secretary has said he believes regular testing is already playing a critical role in helping reclaim lost freedoms. Becky Johnson, Sky News.