When to self-isolate and what to do
NHS information about what self-isolation is, when to do it and how to self-isolate if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19).
This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
Self-isolation rules have changed. You will not need to self-isolate in certain situations.
It's a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.
Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) on GOV.UK as soon as possible if you have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
You should also self-isolate straight away if:
- you've tested positive for COVID-19 – this means you have the virus
- someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – check below if this applies to you)
- you've been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
You may need to quarantine when you arrive in England from abroad. Check the quarantine rules when entering England on GOV.UK
If you live with or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:
- you're fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
- you're under 18 years, 6 months old
- you're taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
However, if you live with or have been in contact with someone who may have the Omicron variant of COVID-19, this does not apply and you’ll still need to self-isolate. NHS Test and Trace will contact you if this is the case.
Even if you do not have symptoms, you should still:
- get a PCR test on GOV.UK to check if you have COVID-19
- follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19
- consider limiting contact with people who are at higher risk from COVID-19
Tell people you've been in close contact with that you have symptoms
Tell people you've been in close contact with in the past 48 hours that you might have COVID-19.
You should tell them to follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
They do not need to self-isolate unless they're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.
If they get any symptoms of COVID-19, they should self-isolate and get a test as soon as possible.
You must not leave your home if you're self-isolating.
do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
do not go on public transport or use taxis
do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one
If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you did not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.
You may need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms do not go away.
Read more about how long to self-isolate.
While you're self-isolating:
- you can get help with everyday tasks, like collecting shopping or medicines, from an NHS volunteer
- you might be able to get sick pay or other types of financial support if you're not able to work