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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).

If you've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may have to self-isolate for 10 full days.

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

You will not need to self-isolate in certain situations. Read more about when to self-isolate and what to do.

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

If you have a high temperature after the 10 days, or are feeling unwell, keep self-isolating and seek medical advice.

If you need to self-isolate because someone you live with has tested positive

Check if you need to self-isolate first. You may not need to self-isolate in certain situations. Read more about when to self-isolate and what to do.

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 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: 16 September 2021
Next review due: 30 September 2021