Skip to main contentSkip to main content

What to do if you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out what to do if you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19) (previously 'self-isolation').

You're no longer required by law to stay at home (self-isolate).

You're more likely to catch COVID-19 if you live with or have stayed overnight in the household of someone who has the virus.

If you’ve had contact with someone who’s tested positive, it can take up to 10 days for your COVID-19 infection to develop. This means you could pass on the virus to other people, even if you do not have symptoms.

You can take steps to reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 on to others.

There’s separate guidance for children and young people aged 18 and under on GOV.UK


  • avoid contact with the person who has COVID-19 as much as you can

  • avoid contact with people at higher-risk from COVID-19, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine

  • limit contact with people you do not live with, particularly in crowded places, indoors or where there is not much fresh air

  • wear a face covering that fits snugly against your face and has more than 1 layer where you're in close contact with other people, or in crowded places

  • wash your hands often with soap or water, or use hand sanitiser


  • you do not need to do daily rapid lateral flow tests if you've been in close contact with someone with COVID-19

If you've been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 but do not live with them and have not stayed overnight in their household, follow the guidance on living safely with COVID-19 on GOV.UK.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if:

  • you have any symptoms of COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities
  • you've tested positive for COVID-19 – this means it's very likely you have the virus

Get further advice about what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive.

If you need help

If you're not sure what to do, you can get help online with your enquiry.

If you cannot use the online service, call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines).

Lines are open:

  • Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
  • Saturday 9am to 1pm
  • Sunday and bank holidays closed

119 provides support in 200 languages.

SignVideo is a free online British Sign Language interpreter service for 119.

Open all pages about Coronavirus (COVID-19)