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Adherence to the test, trace, and isolate system in the UK: results from 37 nationally representative surveys

Smith, LE; Potts, H; Fear, NT; Michie, S; Rubin, GJ; (2021) Adherence to the test, trace, and isolate system in the UK: results from 37 nationally representative surveys. BMJ: British Medical Journal , 372 , Article n608. 10.1136/bmj.n608. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: To investigate rates of adherence to the UK’s test, trace, and isolate system over the initial 11 months of the covid-19 pandemic. Design: Series of cross sectional online surveys. Setting: 37 nationally representative surveys in the UK, 2 March 2020 to 27 January 2021. Participants: 74 697 responses from 53 880 people living in the UK, aged 16 years or older (37 survey waves, about 2000 participants in each wave). Main outcome measures: Identification of the main symptoms of covid-19 (cough, high temperature or fever, and loss of sense of smell or taste), self-reported adherence to self-isolation if symptoms were present and intention to self-isolate if symptoms were to develop, requesting a test for covid-19 if symptoms were present and intention to request a test if symptoms were to develop, and intention to share details of close contacts. Results: Only 51.5% of participants (95% confidence interval 51.0% to 51.9%, n=26 030/50  570) identified the main symptoms of covid-19; the corresponding values in the most recent wave of data collection (25-27 January 2021) were 50.8% (48.6% to 53.0%, n=1019/2007). Across all waves, duration adjusted adherence to full self-isolation was 42.5% (95% confidence interval 39.7% to 45.2%, n=515/1213); in the most recent wave of data collection (25-27 January 2021), it was 51.8% (40.8% to 62.8%, n=43/83). Across all waves, requesting a test for covid-19 was 18.0% (95% confidence interval 16.6% to 19.3%, n=552/3068), increasing to 22.2% (14.6% to 29.9%, n=26/117) from 25 to 27 January. Across all waves, intention to share details of close contacts was 79.1% (95% confidence interval 78.8% to 79.5%, n=36 145/45 680), increasing to 81.9% (80.1% to 83.6%, n=1547/1890) from 25 to 27 January. Non-adherence was associated with being male, younger age, having a dependent child in the household, lower socioeconomic grade, greater financial hardship during the pandemic, and working in a key sector. Conclusions: Levels of adherence to test, trace, and isolate are low, although some improvement has occurred over time. Practical support and financial reimbursement are likely to improve adherence. Targeting messaging and policies to men, younger age groups, and key workers might also be necessary.

Type: Article
Title: Adherence to the test, trace, and isolate system in the UK: results from 37 nationally representative surveys
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmj.n608
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n608
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > CHIME
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122861
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