Self-isolating due to COVID-19
When do I need to self-isolate?
There is no longer a legal requirement for people with coronavirus (COVID-19) infection to self-isolate, however if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
If you choose to self-isolate, you may choose to end your self-isolation period before the end of the 10 full days.
To do this, you can take a LFT from the fifth day of your isolation period, and another LFT on the following day. The second LFT test should be taken at least 24 hours later. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result.
You should not take a LFT before the fifth day of your isolation period, and you should only end your self-isolation following 2 consecutive negative LFTs taken at least 24 hours apart.
If you take an LFT from the fifth day of your isolation period, and the test result is positive, wait 24 hours before you take the next test. If both LFT results are then negative, you can end your self-isolation period before the full 10 days.
This is not compulsory, if you wish to self-isolate for the full 10 days, you can do so.
If you do choose to end your self-isolation period before 10 full days you are strongly advised:
- to limit close contact with other people outside your household, especially in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces
- to work from home if you are able to
- to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces, where you are in close contact with other people and where it is a legal requirement
- to limit contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19
- to follow the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread
You should follow this advice until 10 full days from when your self-isolation period started even when you have had two consecutive negative LFTs on day 5 and day 6.
What do I need to do if I test positive on a lateral flow test?
If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you can still take regular lateral flow tests to check your status.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get a PCR test.
WHAT DOES SELF-ISOLATE MEAN?
If you are self-isolating, that means you:
- must not visit family or friends
- must not go shopping or to the pharmacy
- must not leave the house (unless going for a test or to get emergency medical help)
- must not go to work
- must not take your children to school, nursery or a child minder
- must rearrange any routine health appointments at your GP, dentist, or hospital
If your child has symptoms, they must not go to school.