Current Government Guidelines
Main Messages (as of 31st August 2021)
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible. This still applies even if you have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months you will not be required to self-isolate if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Please arrange for a PCR test but you can carry on 'as normal' while you wait for the result as long as you don't have any symptoms.
You could be fined if you do not self-isolate following a notification by NHS Test and Trace. You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate or you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have received a positive COVID-19 test result
Stay at home and self-isolate
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and self-isolate immediately. If you have a positive test result but do not have symptoms, stay at home and self-isolate as soon as you receive the results.
Arrange to have a PCR test online or by phone by calling 119 if you have not already had one. Stay at home while you are waiting for a home test kit, a test site appointment or a test result. You can leave your home in a few specific circumstances, but do not go to work, school, or public areas and do not use public transport or taxis. See circumstances in which you can leave home.
If you need to leave your home to get to a test site, wear a face covering, stay at least 2 metres apart from other people who you do not live with, and return home immediately afterwards.
If you are notified by NHS Test and Trace of a positive test result you must complete your full isolation period, except for certain situations where you had an assisted LFD test which was followed up by a negative PCR test. Your isolation period starts immediately from when your symptoms started, or, if you do not have any symptoms, from when your test was taken. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month (or if you did not have symptoms but your first positive COVID-19 test was taken on the 15th), your isolation period ends at 23:59hrs on the 25th.
If you receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the NHS Test and Trace service website you should do this. You will be asked about when your symptoms started. You should provide this information because it will be used to identify who has been in contact with you while you have been infectious.
You will be asked about your recent contacts so that they can be given public health advice. They will not be told your identity. It is very important that you provide this information, as it will play a vital role in helping to protect your family, friends and the wider community.
You can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if your symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If you still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice.
If you are isolating because of a positive test result but did not have any symptoms, and you develop COVID-19 symptoms within your isolation period, start a new 10 day isolation period by counting 10 full days from the day following your symptom onset.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms at any point after ending your first period of isolation you and your household should follow the steps in this guidance again.
If you have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result after being tested because you had symptoms
If your PCR test result is negative but you still have symptoms, you may have another viral illness such as a cold, flu or a stomach bug. You should stay at home until you feel well and for at least 2 more days if you have had diarrhoea or vomiting. Seek medical attention if you are concerned about your symptoms.
You can stop isolating as long as:
- you are well and have not had diarrhoea or vomiting for at least 2 days
- no one else in your household has symptoms
- no one else in your household has tested positive for COVID-19
- you have not been advised by NHS Test and Trace that you are legally required to self-isolate
Anyone in your household who is isolating because of your symptoms can also stop isolating.