When are you most contagious with Covid?

Boris Johnson says he is 'deeply sorry' for coronavirus losses

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Covid spreads easily from person to person, the new Delta variant which is the dominant strain in the UK at the moment is thought to be even more contagious than previous strains. Catching Covid will mean you have to self-isolate to protect others, but when are you most likely to pass it on?

Despite the lifting of all Covid restrictions in England from next week, the pandemic is far from over.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned Brits not to have “a great jubilee” after restrictions are lifted on 19 July.

On the easing of restrictions, He said: “It is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution and I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough – this pandemic is not over.”

He added: “I generally urge everyone to keep thinking of others and to consider the risks.”

So if you are infected with the virus how soon after will you start to be contagious?

The time from exposure to the virus before symptoms appear (known as the incubation period) is thought to be between two to 14 days.

But symptoms normally appear within four or five days after exposure.

If someone is infected with Covid they may start to become contagious within 48 hours before starting to experience symptoms.

This is concerning as Harvard Medical School say people may be most likely to spread Covid to others during the 48 hours before they develop symptoms.

That is one of the reasons Brits have been urged to get regular Covid tests, as you might be infected with the virus and be unknowingly spreading it to others before your symptoms develop.

The NHS say: “About one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

“This is why everyone is advised to get tested regularly.”

What should you do if you think you have Covid?

If you have symptoms of Covid or have been into contact with someone who has tested positive the NHS says:

Get a PCR test (a test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

If you are pinged by the NHS app it is your legal duty to self-isolate even if you have not developed Covid symptoms.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has warned Brits not to ignore the NHS Covid app alerts, if it orders for them to self-isolate.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You shouldn’t ignore this because it is vital information.

“People should want to know if they have been in contact with somebody with coronavirus.

“You don’t want to be spreading it around. It can still harm people.”

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