Dear Public Health England,

I'm writing with concern regarding the current advice being issued regarding Self Isolation due to coronavirus.

I refer specifically to this advice page:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

But this advice is currently being repeated by national media and a number of other government departments and sites.

I would like you to provide an explanation of the scientific basis for the isolation only lasting 7 days from FIRST symptoms. When other countries and the World health organisation are recommending 14 days from LAST symptoms.

I have read the detailed information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/sci...
Which specifically states: "The maximum incubation period is used to define the period required for isolation, currently believed to be 14 days."

It is becoming increasingly clear recovered patients remain contagious after symptoms have cleared up. This "7 day" advice means key workers who have tested positive for the virus will be expected to return to work when they may not have symptoms, may be immune themselves but still contagious endangering colleagues and promoting the spread of the virus in the very people this advice is designed to protect.

To summarise this a Freedom of Information request relating to the specific advice to isolate for only 7 days from onset of symptoms relating to Covid-19

Yours faithfully,

Jack Pottinger

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Jack Pottinger,

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information, which will be treated as a request for information under statutory access legislation.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data, your request has been handled as a data subject access request (SAR) under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), then we will respond  within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for providing guidance and advice to government and front-line services for all aspects of public health.  It is a designated Category 1 responder organisation under the Civil Contingency Act and this specifically includes the COVID-19 response, providing clinical expertise and wider public health advice and guidance across national and local government, the NHS and third sector.  As such, you may experience delays when making statutory information access requests during the pandemic.

We will aim to address all requests promptly and within the required response timeframes.  However when we are unable to meet the response timeframe we will keep requesters updated on a revised expected timescale for a response to their request. The Information Commissioner recognises this position in its recent guidance, see link: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/dat...

Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920 
www.gov.uk/phe   Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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FOI, Public Health England

Dear Jack Pottinger,

PHE is unable to provide a response to your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as you have not made a request for recorded information held by PHE. Under the terms of the FOI Act, we are not required to create new information to respond to a request, or give an explanation or opinion that is not already recorded. For guidance on how to structure successful requests please refer to the ICO website at the following link: http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public/officia...

Under our Section 16 duty to provide advice and assistance, PHE can confirm that SAGE advice is published at the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

Freedom of Information Officer
Public Accountability Unit
Corporate Affairs
Public Health England
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

Protecting and improving the nation’s health

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Dear FOI,

I'm afraid I'm unable to accept your response that this documentation does not exist. Public Health England are issuing guidance that you no longer need to self isolate if you are symptom free after 7 days.

Please supply all documents, correspondence and evidence in written or electronic form that lead to the formulation of this advice.

I'm not asking for you to create new information just supply any and all relivent information in your possession relating to this specific element of your publicly issued advice.

Yours sincerely,

Jack Pottinger

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Jack Pottinger,

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data, your request has been handled as a data subject access request (SAR) under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), then we will respond  within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for providing guidance and advice to government and front-line services for all aspects of public health.  It is a designated Category 1 responder organisation under the Civil Contingency Act and this specifically includes the COVID-19 response, providing clinical expertise and wider public health advice and guidance across national and local government, the NHS and third sector.  As such, you may experience delays when making statutory information access requests during the pandemic.

We will aim to address all requests promptly and within the required response timeframes.  However when we are unable to meet the response timeframe we will keep requesters updated on a revised expected timescale for a response to their request. The Information Commissioner recognises this position in its recent guidance, see link: https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protectio...

Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920 
www.gov.uk/phe   Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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FOI, Public Health England

1 Attachment

Dear Jack Pottinger

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request.

We apologise for the time taken to provide the response. Due to the pandemic we are dealing with a high volume of requests at this time.

Kind Regards
FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
www.gov.uk/phe   Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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