If there's a chance you could have Coronavirus, you are asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate). This means that you should not leave your house or have any visitors to your home for a period of 14 days.
Please refer to the latest updated guidance on staying at home for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection from Public Health England.
Public Health England has also created an easy-read guide to self-care during this time available to download in the downloads section.
Self-isolation means you should:
- stay at home
- not go to work, school or public places
- not use public transport or taxis
- ask friends, family members or delivery services to do errands for you
- avoid visitors to your home – it's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food
The self-isolation period for contacts of those who have tested positive for Coronavirus has been reduced from 14 days down to 10 days. However, it’s important to note however that Public Health England class the first day of symptoms or test as ‘day zero’, so the self-isolation time including that initial first day will be 11 days.
When to self-isolate
You must self-isolate immediately if:
- you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), you must get tested (book online or ring 119) and the rest of the household should self-isolate with you whilst awaiting the results.
- you've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
- 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 – see GOV.UK: how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK
If you are self-isolating or in quarantine, then a negative test result does not necessarily mean you can end isolation early. The virus can take time to develop and so a test early on does not prove that you won’t go on to develop the virus. That means you could still be at risk of spreading the disease to other people. The only instance in which a negative test result can help to end isolation early is if the only reason you are isolating is due to having symptoms.
Please note anyone whose household is displaying symptoms of coronavirus and self-isolating (even if not a confirmed case) must store their household waste and recycling for at least 72 hours before putting it out for collection in their black and blue bins.
Self-isolation support payments
If you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive; are unable to work and will lose income as a result, you may be eligible to apply for a self-isolation support payment.
On 20 September 2020, the Government announced a new national Test and Trace Support Scheme. Under the scheme payments of £500 will be available for residents who have received notification from NHS test and trace to self-isolate, providing that period of self-isolation started on or after 28 September 2020.
The payment is to support those on low incomes, who would also lose income as a result of self-isolating, and to encourage people to get tested if they have symptoms. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID 19. The scheme will operate until 31 March 2021.
For more details of the scheme, eligibility criteria, and to apply, go to our application page.
Return to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) homepage
- Covid-19 Easy Read Self Care Guide
- Download (1.36MB - PDF)