There is no longer a legal requirement for people with coronavirus (COVID-19) infection to self-isolate, however if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. This advice also applies to children who usually attend an education setting.
If you have COVID-19, stay at home and avoid contact with other people
If you have COVID-19 you can infect other people from 2 days before your symptoms start, and for up to 10 days after. You can pass on the infection to others, even if you have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
If you have COVID-19 you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. You should also follow this advice If you have a positive LFD test result, even if you do not have any symptoms.
- not attend work. If you are unable to work from home, you should talk to your employer about options available to you. You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay
- ask friends, family, neighbours or volunteers to get food and other essentials for you
- not invite social visitors into your home, including friends and family
- postpone all non-essential services and repairs that require a home visit
- cancel routine medical and dental appointments. If you are concerned about your health or you have been asked to attend an appointment in person during this time, discuss this with your medical contact and let them know about your symptoms or your test result
- if you can, let people who you have been in close contact with know about your positive test result so that they can follow this guidance
Many people will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days. You may choose to take an LFD test from 5 days after your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you did not have symptoms) followed by another LFD test the next day. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, the risk that you are still infectious is much lower and you can safely return to your normal routine. Report your LFD test results after taking each test.
How to safely return to your normal routine before 10 days
If your day 5 LFD test result is positive, you can continue taking LFD tests until you receive 2 consecutive negative test results.
Children and young people with COVID-19 should not attend their education setting while they are infectious. They should take an LFD test from 5 days after their symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms) followed by another one the next day. If both these tests results are negative, they should return to their educational setting if they normally attend one, as long as they feel well enough to do so and do not have a temperature. They should follow the guidance for their educational setting.
Avoid meeting people at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19, especially those with a severely weakened immune system, for the 10 days after your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you did not have symptoms).
While you are infectious there is a high risk of passing on COVID-19 to others in your household. These are simple things you can do to help prevent the spread:
- keep your distance from other people you live with and spend as little time as possible in shared areas such as kitchens and living rooms. This is particularly important if someone you live with is unvaccinated or at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19, especially those with a severely weakened immune system
- if you need to spend time in shared areas wear a well-fitting face covering made with multiple layers or a surgical face mask. Ventilate the room by opening windows and leaving them open for at least 10 minutes after you have left the room. Leave extractor fans running for longer than usual with the door closed after use
- cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitiser
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose and before you eat or handle food. Avoid touching your face
- if you can, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If this is not possible try and use the bathroom after everyone else
- regularly clean frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and remote controls, and shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
GermDefence is a useful website that can help you identify ways to protect yourself and others in your household from COVID-19. It provides scientifically proven advice on reducing the risks from COVID-19 and other viruses in your home.