Even mild covid is still contagious after five days, according to London study

Image - Lateral Flow Test: Steve Allen/shutterstock

Despite government guidance advising that those infected with the covid virus should “try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days”, a new study suggests that even mild covid is still contagious after five days. 

The study carried out by Imperial College London and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal revealed that more than half of cases were still infectious five days after the beginning signs of covid symptoms, and that around 25% of these were still infectious after a week, as reported by dailymail.co.uk

This study is the first to reveal the lasting affects of infectiousness after the coronavirus infection in the general community. It also suggested that only one in five cases were infectious prior to the start of symptoms. 

Author of the study Professor Ajit Lalvani said that they were “able to define the window in which people are infectious” through the use of “special daily tests to measure infectious virus (not just PCR) and daily symptoms records”.

He said these were fundamental if there is any chance of controlling the pandemic and that the infectious window “had not been previously defines for any respiratory infection in the community.” 

Lateral flow tests have been deemed better to safely shorten self-isolation if people suffering from covid isolate for five days from when symptoms begin and then do lateral flow tests from the sixth day onwards.

If the lateral flow test is negative for two consecutive days, then it is safe to leave isolation. However, a positive test should warrant further isolation, with those infected by the virus being able to leave isolation 10 days after their symptoms first begin. 


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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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