Help if you’re self-isolating

Self-isolation guidance

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have COVID-19.

You are legally required to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.

This means you must not:

  • go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
  • go on public transport or use taxis
  • go out to get food and medicine – order it online, by phone or ask someone to drop it to your home
  • have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

This helps to stop the virus spreading to other people.

Self-isolation is different from:

If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, even if you are already self-isolating, you should get tested immediately.

Symptoms include:

  • high temperature
  • a continuous or new cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

When to self-isolate

You should self-isolate if you:

  • test positive from either a rapid test (lateral flow) or lab processed test (PCR test), whether or not you have symptoms
  • are told you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • have been told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service or the NHS COVID-19 app
  • live in a household where others (including children) develop symptoms, or they have tested positive
  • are told you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • have symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19 and are waiting for a test result

View the NHS website for more information on how long to self-isolate.

Keep self-isolating if you feel unwell

Keep self-isolating if 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 you have diarrhoea or you’re being sick, stay at home until 48 hours after they've stopped.

Stop self-isolating after 10 days if you feel OK

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

View the NHS information about how to avoid spreading coronavirus to people you live with.