Self-isolation period reduced again for those testing positive for Covid-19

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Posted on 17 Jan 2022

Self-isolation period reduced again for those testing positive for Covid-19

Further changes to the self-isolation rules

People who test positive for Covid-19 in England will be able to leave self-isolation after five full days if lateral flow tests taken on days 5 and 6 are negative.   

The changes are being introduced after a review of the medical evidence and are designed to reduce staff shortages. 

Under the self-isolation rules, the standard self-isolation period is 10 days. The day symptoms begin or the day the person tests positive is day zero. The next day is day 1 of the self-isolation period. People can now take a lateral flow test on day 5 and another test 24 hours later.  Provided both tests are negative and they do not have a high temperature they can stop self-isolating straight away.  If they test positive on day 5 or day 6, they can re-test later in the 10 day isolation period and come out of self-isolation early once they have had two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. 

People should report their test results on the Government website

The changes apply from 17 January and apply irrespective of whether the person is vaccinated.

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 if possible and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with Covid-19. 

What about close contacts? 

The self-solation rules for close contacts of people testing positive remain unchanged. Unvaccinated close contacts must self-isolate for 10 days. Those who are:

  • Fully vaccinated
  • Unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Taking part or have taken part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial

do not have to self-isolate but are advised to do daily lateral flow tests for 7 days and consider limiting contact with those who are at higher risk from Covid-19. 

The Government has updated its guidance to reflect the change. 

Testing rule changes 

The changes follow changes to the testing rules that came into effect on 11 January.  Anyone without Covid-19 symptoms who tests positive using a lateral flow test is no longer required to obtain a confirmatory PCR. There are some exceptions, where a confirmatory PCR test is still required, including those on a low income who are applying for a Test and Trace Support Payment and anyone who arrives in England from outside the UK and has a positive day 2 lateral flow test.

Those who have symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) are still required to have a PCR test. 

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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