Don't be the link. Stop the spread. Save lives.

Self-isolate and protect others

Learn when you must self-isolate and how to protect others from infection inside and outside of your home.

What's on this page:

    When to self-isolate

    Self Isolation Guidance from Monday, 16 August

    From 16 August, if you have been fully vaccinated you will be exempt from the requirement to self-isolate if you are a contact of a positive case. From this date, if you are under 18 and a contact of a positive case you will also be exempt from self-isolation. In both instances, you will be advised to take a PCR test. If you test positive you will still need to self-isolate regardless of your vaccination status or age.

    By law, you must self-isolate immediately if:

    • you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
    • you've tested positive for COVID-19
    • you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
    • someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
    • you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
    • you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk.

    Stay at home even if you feel well. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear.

    How to self-isolate


    • Stay in your home or accommodation


    1. Go out to work, school or other public areas. You should work from home if you can.
    2. Have visitors in your home or accommodation, except for people providing essential care.
    3. Go out to exercise. You should exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one.

    How long to self-isolate

    How long you need to self-isolate for depends on your circumstances.

    Find out how long to self-isolate for on the NHS website.

    Household isolation

    If you have symptoms or have tested positive, all members of your household must self-isolate.

    Find out how to avoid spreading coronavirus to people you live with on the NHS website.

    If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 your household does not need to self-isolate with you. However, they must take extra care to:

    • Wash hands

      Keep washing your hands regularly.

    • Cover face

      Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.

    • Make space

      stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face cover or other precautions.

    School isolation

    Your child may be told by their school or college to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

    View our easy read guide for schoolchildren to find out how protect others from infection.

    • No symptoms in household?
      No symptoms in household?

      Only schoolchild must isolate.

    • Symptoms in household?
      Symptoms in household?

      Everyone must isolate.

    When to get a test

    Get a test if you have:

    • COVID-19 symptoms
    • been asked to get a test
    • High temperature
    • New persistent cough
    • Loss of smell
    • Loss of taste

    Get an isolation note to give to your employer

    If you have to stay at home but feel well enough to work, ask your employer if you can work from home. If you can work from home, you will not need an isolation note.

    If you cannot work, find out how to get an isolation note on the NHS website.

    Financial help

    If you need to self-isolate and you’re on a low income, are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, you may be able to claim a payment of £500.

    Find out if you’re eligible for a Test and Trace support payment.