Brits self-isolating with Covid-19 should get free access to online games and streaming services, say scientists

April Roach
·2-min read
Scientists have recommended those who must self-isolate receive free access to streaming services: PA
Scientists have recommended those who must self-isolate receive free access to streaming services: PA

Scientists have called for people with coronavirus to get free access to online games and streaming services in a bid to boost self-isolation numbers.

The experts warned in a report that current rates of self-isolation are "likely very low" in the UK and advised the Government to form a "self care package".

The Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), a team that has been advising the government throughout the pandemic, stressed that the effectiveness of the NHS test and trace system depends "critically upon self-isolation of people who may have Covid-19 and their contacts".

They suggested free access to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as they could help with alleviating the "boredom" that might come with self-isolation.

"Given the role of boredom and frustration in non-adherence to isolation, identifying ways to combat this may also be productive," wrote the authors of the report.

"For example, a partnership with the entertainment industry to provide free access to online games or streaming services could be considered.

"Beyond mitigating the negative impact of isolation, room also exists within this area to trial provision of incentives.

"As one illustrative example, particularly for younger adults and children, a partnership with entertainments or sports industries might identify novel ‘money can’t buy’ activities or products only available to those who have self-isolated."

The scientists identified financial support as the main factor which could boost self-isolation rates.

They urgently called for new measures to ensure that those required to self-isolate would not experience financial hardship in doing so.

People with symptoms leaving their home to care for others was another major concern highlighted by the scientists in the report.

"Identifying people with this need and finding a solution that does not risk transmission is essential," they added.

The paper was formed in response to a request from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) for the SPI-B team to review existing evidence on the amount of people following quarantine guidelines.

SPI-B concluded that adherence to self-isolation is essential to preventing a resurgence of the pandemic.

The scientists recommended the Department of Health and Social Care consider their recommendations as a "priority".

"Given that self-isolation is the cornerstone of reducing community transmission of SARSCoV-2, the evidence is sufficiently compelling to begin implementation of a support package that encompasses the four areas outlined in this paper, as one important step towards to increasing the current likely very low rates of self-isolation," they wrote.

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