Do I need to isolate after contact with someone who has Covid?

THE rules on self-isolating can be confusing – but it's important you know what to do if you are contacted.

You can be required to stay at home if you test positive or if you have contact with someone else does… but what are the rules?

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When should I self-isolate?

Everyone with flu-like symptoms, which is defined as a fever of above 37.8C or a persistent cough, should stay home and order a test.

There are newer symptoms that present as more cold-like with the Delta variant or in vaccinated people, so be aware this could also be Covid and get tested.

You must self-isolate immediately if:

  • You have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • You've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • You live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
  • You're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • You arrive in the UK from a country on the red or amber list

If you think you've been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, but you do not have symptoms and have not been told to self-isolate, continue to follow social distancing advice.

More information is available on the NHS website.

What does self-isolation mean?

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus.

Essentially self-isolation means cutting yourself off from the outside world  — and no visitors!

It means staying at home from work, school or other public places or public transport or any place where you may spread the virus to others.

Also, make sure you have a well-ventilated room with a window which can be opened.

And while there should be no visitors, it is fine to have friends, family or delivery drivers drop off essentials during this period.

Self-isolation is different to social distancing and shielding.

Do I need to self isolate if someone I have had contact with tests positive?

Yes. NHS Test and Trace should contact you and advise you to self-isolate.

The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. 

You will be told to isolate for 10 days after you saw the person who is now unwell.

It’s really important to do this even if you don’t feel unwell because you could still be infectious to others.

If you develop symptoms of Covid-19, other members of your household must self-isolate immediately at home for 10 days and you must get a test to check if you have the virus.

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