THE Royal Borough’s cabinet member for health defends his public health guidance answers he gave on public radio.

Councillor Stuart Carroll (Conservative: Boyn Hill), lead member for adult social care, children’s services, health, and mental health, went on Asian Star Radio on November 9 (Monday) to remind people of the national guidance.

He was asked a question; can a person break their isolation if they tested negative after being in contact with someone who test positive or will they still have to complete the 14 day isolation period regardless of the result.

Cllr Carroll said if they tested negative, they do not have to self-isolate for 14 days as they are “not at risk of spreading the virus” – but added you must self-isolate if you have symptoms or come into contact who test positive or has symptoms until you get the test results back.

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The NHS guidance states a person must keep self-isolating for 14 days even with a negative result as symptoms could arise after the test.

Cllr Carroll, who is also an epidemiologist, defended his answer saying it was correct for the scenario he “interpreted” of a person who had Covid-symptoms not needing to self-isolate as they received a negative test result unless Track and Trace instructed them to do so.

The lead member for health said: “I fear politics is playing and, if it is, then I think that is lamentable given that this is public health and the last thing we need to do is to confuse messaging.

“I think it’s very, very important during this period that we do not allow public health to become politicised. We mustn’t. It’s too important and it’s an area which is my profession – which I have been involved in way before politics.”

Asian Star Radio issued a correction a day after the interview stating that you must continue to self-isolate for 14 days if you came into contact with someone who tested positive regardless of your test result.

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The NHS website also states you must self-isolate if you’re still feeling unwell or if you live or in a support bubble with someone who tested positive even if you don’t develop any symptoms and/or your test result comes back negative.

You must also self-isolate for 14 days if instructed by the NHS’s Track and Trace system.

Cllr Carroll added: “With timescales involved in interviews, it is difficult to go into every specific regulation and rule, but I know from the feedback I’ve had that many people interpreted what I said correctly.

“To counter any misunderstanding, we ensured there was an immediate follow up, outlining other scenarios for self-isolation. It is critical everyone seeks direct NHS advice if they are unclear on any part of the guidance and that they immediately comply with the information they are given.”

Self-isolation guidance has been published on the Royal Borough’s website – which can be viewed here: