Alliance responds to revised guidance on close contact rules for under-fives

The Early Years Alliance has commented on newly-updated government guidance on children aged under five who have been confirmed as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.

UK Health Security Agency guidance, updated today, now states that [newly-added guidance is in bold]: "Regular LFD tests are not recommended for children aged under 5. If they live with someone who has COVID-19 they are not legally required to self-isolate but you should limit their contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19 and arrange for them to take a PCR test as soon as possible."

Commenting, Neil Leitch, CEO of the Early Years Alliance: 

"We welcome clarification that under-fives are still advised to take a PCR test if someone in their household is Covid-positive, though many working in the early years will be understandably frustrated that this important advice was omitted from government guidance when it was updated earlier this week.

"That said, given the rapid rate with which Omicron is said to spread, it is vital that the government ensures that Covid-19 guidance for young children is robust enough to actually help reduce the risk of transmission in early years settings.

"As it stands, a child under five who has had contact with a positive Covid case outside their household can still attend their nursery, pre-school or childminding setting, as can a child who has had a positive case in their household and is awaiting their PCR test result. While we know that many settings will have their own policies in place based on their own risk assessments, it is still vital that those working on the frontline feel confident that government policy decisions are being based on sound scientific evidence, and that this evidence is made readily available to the sector, something that is yet to happen.

"Early years providers are working incredibly hard to ensure that they are able to remain open and that their settings are as safe as possible, but they too need to feel confident that their own safety, and that of their loved ones and colleagues, is a priority. It's vital that government now demonstrates that this is the case."