Changes to self-isolation for COVID cases

Further changes to self-isolation for COVID cases are now in effect from Monday 17 January. If you test positive via a lateral flow test, you must self-isolate immediately.

If you do not have symptoms, then you will not need to do a PCR test.

Your isolation period begins as soon as you test positive.

If you receive negative tests via a lateral flow on day five and day six of your isolation, you can then end your self-isolation after completing five full days.

If you are isolating with COVID-19 it is vital that you wait until you have received two negative lateral flow tests on two consecutive days, before ending your isolation, in order to reduce the chance of still being infectious.

Your first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. If you test positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on day 6 and day 7 to release from isolation.

It is essential that two negative lateral flow tests are taken on consecutive days and reported before you can return to your job or education, if leaving self-isolation earlier than the full 10 day period.

If you leave self-isolation on or after day 6, you are strongly advised to wear face coverings and limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home if you can do so and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID- 19.

The default self-isolation period continues to be 10 days, and you may only leave self-isolation early if you have taken two LFDs and do not have a temperature in line with guidance.
Anyone who is still unwell with symptoms should continue to isolate beyond seven days (for example if they still have a fever).

The rules for contacts have not changed. Fully vaccinated individuals who are identified as contacts of someone with Covid-19 case should take daily LFDs for 7 days but are not legally required to self-isolate. Unvaccinated contacts are legally required to self-isolate for the full 10 day period.

Please note, the instructions of the Test and Trace service must be followed.

For more information, visit the updated self-isolation guidance on the GOV.UK website.

Please note, the instructions of the Test and Trace service must be followed.

This page was last updated on 17 January 2022

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