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National lockdown: Stay at home

Self-isolation FAQs

I am positive 

I have COVID symptoms, do I need to self-isolate?

If you have the main symptoms of COVID (fever, persistent cough and loss of smell or taste) you must self-isolate immediately and book a test. You must remain in isolation until you get your test result. If your test comes back as positive you must stay in isolation for 10 days full days after your symptoms appeared.

If you have precuationary symptoms such as headache, aches and pains, feeling tired for no reason, sort throat, runny nose or tummy ache in children then you are advised to get a test. You do not need to isolate unless your test comes back as positive but if it does you must stay in isolation for 10 days full days after your symptoms appeared.

I didn’t have symptoms but got a test and am positive. What do I do?

You must isolate for 10 full days from the date of your test.

Does the day I developed symptoms count as day one of isolation?

No, the first full day after your symptoms appeared counts as the first full day of your isolation. So, if your symptoms appeared at 10am on Tuesday, Wednesday would count as day one of your isolation period.

How do I get a test

If you have symptoms

  • Book a test online

  • If you have the main symptoms you can enter them on the website

  • If you have other symptoms choose the option “my Council told me to get a test”

If you don’t have symptoms

I am a close contact

What classes as a close contact?

Close contacts include everyone in the same household as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or someone who has the main symptoms and is awaiting a test result.

Close contacts also include people who have been within one metre of someone who has tested positive for more than a minute, or within two metres of someone who has tested positive for more than 15 minutes in total over the course of 24 hours.

Do I need to self-isolate?

Yes, everybody in your household must self-isolate for 10 full days from when the positive case had their test.

I spent half an hour with my friend yesterday and she has since tested positive. Do I need to self-isolate?

Yes, if you were not socially distanced and more than two metres apart you should isolate for 10 full days from when you last came into contact with her. So, if you saw her yesterday, today counts as your first full day of isolation.

If I’m asked to isolate as a close contact, what counts at day one?

If a household contact has tested positive or developed symptoms, this would be the first full day after their symptoms appeared or their positive test.

If it is a non-household contact, this would be the first full day after your most recent contact with them.


Are the self-isolation periods optional?

Absolutely not. If you are positive for COVID or are a close contact, you have to self-isolate by law. 

The police can fine £1,000 for breaches, and that could rise to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

Can I leave my house to exercise on my own when it’s quiet?

Sorry, no. You must not leave your house at all during your isolation period except to get a test if you develop symptoms.

I thought close contacts had to self-isolate for 14 days?

This was the case, but new guidance came into effect on the 14 December which has changed it to 10 days. 

I was told to isolate before it changed to 10 days. Do I still need to isolate for 14 days?

Now that the change has come into force, you can legally reduce your isolation period to 10 full days.

I developed symptoms yesterday afternoon but today is my first day of isolation, why are you making me isolate an extra day?

Partial days of isolation do not count, it needs to be 10 full days from when you developed symptoms, tested positive or came into contact with a positive case.

This is the same guidance as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I have seen people who should be isolating leave their house. What’s the point if others aren’t isolating?

Following the isolation rules is essential as it breaks the chains of transmission.

The majority of people have followed the rules exceptionally well and we have seen it have an effect. Please follow the rules to help us control the virus and protect the more vulnerable in our county.

I have just arrived back from abroad. How long do I need to isolate for?

If you have arrived back from a country not on the travel corridor list, you will need to isolate for 10 days.

Alternatively, you can book a test with a private provider through the Test to Release for International Travel programme.

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