Senior ministers plan to remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive Covid-19 test.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has called upon the Government to provide evidence for removing the self-isolation requirement.
It comes after news emerged that senior ministers are planning to remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive Covid-19 test.
Healthcare professionals have been quick to point out that Professor Sir Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, has been missing from all recent Covid announcements indicating the decision may be political rather than driven by science.
The BMA has cited a concern that removing the isolation period is “contrary to good public health practice” while there are still hundreds of deaths each day.
At the time of publication, a total of 180,033 people had Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate as contributing to their death.
It has now called upon the Government to issue “clear public health guidance that people should not go to work, to educational settings, or socialise while ill”.
On what scientific basis?
In a statement, Dr Penelope Toff, chair of the BMA public health medicine committee, said: “With case rates still incredibly high and hundreds of deaths each day, the suggestion that self-isolation may be removed this month, runs contrary to good public health practice. We must question on what scientific basis this decision is being made and the Government needs to show the evidence behind its proposals.
“Yesterday the UK recorded more than 10,000 more cases than on the 10 December – when the Government in England moved to Plan B, introducing more protective measures, rather than removing them.
Adding; while it is promising that hospitalisations are falling, there are still more than 13,000 patients suffering with Covid-19 in UK hospitals, showing that for a significant number of people this is not a mild disease. So any sharp rebound of case rates and hospitalisations as a result of this decision, could have a serious impact for the health service as would greater staff absence from illness – adding to the workforce shortage and further delaying providing non-Covid healthcare.
Dr Toff concludes urges “the Government to make good on its word to act on ‘data and not dates’, ensuring it is acting on the best available evidence and making the safety and wellbeing of the population its priority.”