When should I self-isolate and how long for? Rules explained – The Sun11/10/2021
SELF-ISOLATION is an important step in slowing the spread of coronavirus in the UK.
But the rules have changed since vaccination became widespread, leaving many confused.
Failing to self-isolate properly could mean you give the virus to others, potentially vulnerable people.
Self-isolation is still a legal requirement in many instances.
It can be difficult for some who cannot afford to be off work for several days, so there is a one-off payment available to those who do not qualify for sick pay.
What does self-isolation mean?
Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have the 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.
When should I self-isolate?
Everyone with any of these three symptoms, even if mild, should self-isolate:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
If you have these symptoms, get a PCR Covid test on the NHS.
You should also self-isolate 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
When do I not need to self-isolate?
There is now some flexibility in self-isolation rules thanks the the millions of people who have taken their Covid vaccine.
If someone you live with has symptoms of Covid, or has tested positive for it, you do 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
But you should still get a PCR Covid test to find out if you are infected yourself, and tell people you've been in contact with that you may have the virus.
How long should I self-isolate for?
Usually self-isolation is ten days.
If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days.
But if you do not have symptoms, but have a positive test result, your 10 days starts the day you had the test.
If you get symptoms after your test, you have to self-isolate for a further 10 days from when your symptoms start.
You can stop self-isolating after 10 days if either:
- you do not have any symptoms
- you just have a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone
Continue to keep self-isolating if:
- you feel unwell
- you have any of these symptoms after 10 days: a high temperature or feeling hot and shivery, a runny nose or sneezing, feeling or being sick, diarrhoea. Only stop self-isolating when these symptoms have gone.
If someone in your house has tested positive, and you also need to self-isolate too, the 10 days is the same as theirs.
You need to self-isolate from the day their symptoms started and the next full 10 days, or from the day of their test if they do not have symptoms.
What if someone else is self-isolating in your home?
Limit contact with them and preferably make sure they stay in one room.
Also, it is important to keep everywhere clean.
People in isolation should constantly wash their hands.
Any rubbish generated by a sick person should be double bagged.
When do I need to self-isolate after holiday?
For a long time, there were self-isolation rules around travel abroad.
Most of these have now been scrapped and the red list no longer exists.
If you are travelling into England from abroad, and are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine. But you do need to arrange some Covid tests. Read more on the Government website.
For those who are not vaccinated, they must quarantine for 10 days after enering England, as well as taking tests.
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