Self-isolation cut to 7 days with negative lateral flow tests
Changes to self-isolation rules
People who test positive for Covid-19 in England will have to self-isolate for 7 days, instead of 10, if they test negative on days 6 and 7 using a lateral flow test.
The reduction in the self-isolation period applies irrespective of whether the person is vaccinated. The day 6 and 7 lateral flow tests must be taken at least 24 hours apart. Provided both tests are negative and the person has no symptoms they can end their self-isolation period early. If the person tests positive on day 6 or 7 they can re-test later in the 10 day period and come out of self-isolation once they have had two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
Those who leave self-isolation early are still strongly advised to limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with Covid-19.
The reduced self-isolation period only applies to people who test positive for Covid-19. It does not apply to their close contacts. They must still self-isolate for 10 days if they are unvaccinated. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated do not have to self-isolate but are advised to do daily lateral flow tests for 7 days.
The changes come in Government guidance and apply from 22 December, including to those who were already self-isolating after testing positive.
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