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How long to self-isolate

You usually have to self-isolate for 10 full days if you've tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have been in close contact with someone who has it.

You might need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms or your symptoms do not go away.

Information:

If you have symptoms and have not had a test, stay at home and get a PCR test to check if you have COVID-19 on GOV.UK.

If you've tested positive

How long you need to self-isolate

If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

If you get symptoms while you're self-isolating, the 10 days restarts from the day after your symptoms started.

When to stop self-isolating

You can stop self-isolating after the 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

When to keep self-isolating

Keep self-isolating if you have any of these symptoms after the 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.

If someone you live with has tested positive

How long you need to self-isolate

If someone you live with tests positive, your self-isolation period includes the day their symptoms started (or the day they had the test, if they do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

When to stop self-isolating

You can stop self-isolating after the 10 days if you do not get any symptoms.

What to do if you get symptoms

Get PCR a test to check if you have COVID-19 on GOV.UK if you get symptoms while you're self-isolating.

If your test is negative, keep self-isolating for the rest of the 10 days.

If your test is positive, the 10 days restarts from the day after your symptoms started. This will mean you're self-isolating for more than 10 days overall.

If someone in your childcare or support bubble has tested positive

How long you need to self-isolate

Self-isolate immediately if someone in your childcare or support bubble has tested positive and either:

  • you've been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before their symptoms started
  • you've been in close contact with them since they had the test or during the 48 hours before their test (if they have not had symptoms)

Your self-isolation period includes the day you were last in contact with the person and the next 10 full days.

When to stop self-isolating

You can stop self-isolating after the 10 days if you do not get any symptoms.

What to do if you get symptoms

Get a PCR test to check if you have COVID-19 on GOV.UK if you get symptoms while you're self-isolating.

If your test is negative, keep self-isolating for the rest of the 10 days.

If your test is positive, the 10 days restarts from the day after your symptoms started. This will mean you're self-isolating for more than 10 days overall.

If you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Self-isolate immediately if either:

  • you get a text, email or call from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate
  • you get an alert from the NHS COVID-19 app telling you to self-isolate

Your self-isolation period includes the day you were last in contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 and the next 10 full days.

It's a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.

Find out what to do if you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Information:

Help and support while you're staying at home

While you're self-isolating:

  • you can get help with everyday tasks, like collecting shopping or medicines, from an NHS volunteer
  • you might be able to get sick pay or other types of financial support if you're not able to work

Find out about help and financial support while you're self-isolating

Page last reviewed: 22 July 2021
Next review due: 5 August 2021