Covid guidelines around isolation: What are the rules?

15 November 2021, 10:22 | Updated: 15 November 2021, 10:26

Here's when you need to self-isolate in the UK
Here's when you need to self-isolate in the UK. Picture: Alamy

Self-isolation rules: When do I have to isolate and what are the Covid rules in the UK?

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It was recently reported that government ministers could soon scrap the legal requirement to stay home if you test positive for coronavirus.

According to The Telegraph, as early as March next year Covid would be treated just like the flu, with the focus on tackling local outbreaks and protecting hospitals and care homes.

But what are the rules around isolating in the UK at the moment? Here’s what we know…

You must self isolate if you have tested positive for coronavirus
You must self isolate if you have tested positive for coronavirus. Picture: Getty Images

When do I need to self-isolate in the UK?

According to the government website, you must self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test if you have any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You should also self-isolate if you have tested positive for coronavirus or someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive, and if you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app.

If you have been on holiday outside of the UK, you may need to quarantine when you get back home. Check what the rules are at Gov.uk.

When do I not need to self-isolate?

You do not need to self isolate if you live with has symptoms of COVID-19, or has tested positive for COVID-19, if you are fully vaccinated.

This means if you have had your final dose of the vaccine more than two weeks ago then you no longer have to isolate.

You also don’t need to isolate if you're under 18 years, taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial or are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

But if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, you should still get a PCR test.

The self isolation rules may change next year
The self isolation rules may change next year. Picture: Getty Images

How do I self-isolate?

If you test positive for Covid, you must stay indoors for ten full days.

This may be longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms don’t go away.

You mustn’t leave your home for work, school or to go to the shops.

You should get food and medicine delivered and shouldn’t have anyone else in your home unless they are providing care.

Find out more information on the Gov.uk website.