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Covid: Fewer than a quarter with symptoms request test, study finds


Fewer than a quarter of people who develop coronavirus symptoms request a test, new research has suggested.

The study into adherence to the UK’s test, trace, and isolate system also found only half of those who had symptoms were fully self-isolating towards the end of January, when the latest data is from.

Experts, including from the Public Health England (PHE) behavioural science team at Porton Down in Wiltshire, found that only half of people could identify the main coronavirus symptoms, which include a cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell.

The research – based on responses from more than 53,800 UK adults to surveys across the pandemic – said: “Adherence to each stage of test, trace, and isolate is low but improving slowly.”

The most common reasons for not requesting a test were thinking the symptoms were not Covid-related, symptoms had improved or were mild and not having had contact with anyone with Covid-19.

Men, younger people and those with young children were less likely to self-isolate, as were those from more working-class backgrounds, people experiencing greater financial hardship, and those working in key sectors.

Common reasons for not fully self-isolating included to go to the shops or work, for a medical need other than Covid-19, to care for a vulnerable person, to exercise or meet others, or because symptoms were only mild or got better.

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Source: The Independent, 1 April 2021

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