While school closures can be effective in the case of a flu pandemic, large-scale shutdowns are not thought to be an obvious next step in dealing with the virus in the UK, the government said. Closures would have to be at least 13 weeks long to reduce the peak of Covid-19 by 10-15%. Measures such as self-isolation for seven days for those with symptoms, as advised by the government, have been modelled and are shown to be much more effective. Experts also believe it would be difficult for school closures to work in practice, as children off school would end up socialising anyway or spending time with grandparents, who would be worse-affected by the virus.
The updated guidance asks people to self-isolate at home for seven days if they have a new and persistent cough for up to four hours and a temperature of 37.8C and above. These are considered to be mild symptoms of coronavirus and people do not need to ring 111 for advice unless their condition dramatically worsens, the government said. Following this advice is thought to be an effective way of reducing the peak number of cases by up to 20%. The seven-day period is based on people being infectious just as their symptoms start to show and for a week afterwards. In the future, the government may ask a whole household to isolate for two weeks if one person is affected.
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