Skip to main content

If you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app

This advice is for people who have been told to stay at home (self-isolate) by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app.


There is separate advice about:

Self-isolate immediately

If you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app:

  • self-isolate immediately
  • do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for essential care
  • try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible
  • any people you live with and any people in your support bubble do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms

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

If you live with someone at higher risk from COVID-19, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family while you're self-isolating.

If you have to stay in the same home together, read about how to avoid spreading COVID-19 to people you live with.

If you get symptoms of COVID-19

Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) as soon as possible if you get any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) while you're self-isolating.

Anyone you live with must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result

What to do when you get your test result

If you test negative:

  • keep self-isolating for the rest of the 10 days – you could still get symptoms after being tested
  • anyone you live with can stop self-isolating if they do not have symptoms

If you test positive:

  • the 10 days restarts from the day after your symptoms started – this will mean you're self-isolating for longer than 10 days overall
  • anyone you live with must self-isolate for 10 days, counting from the day after your symptoms started

Read more about how long to self-isolate.

If you do not get symptoms of COVID-19

If you do not get any symptoms of COVID-19 while self-isolating:

  • you can stop self-isolating after the 10 days
  • you do not need to have a test

How you'll be contacted

If you've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and need to self-isolate, you may get:

  • an email, text or phone call from NHS Test and Trace – text messages will come from NHStracing and calls will come from 0300 0135 000
  • an alert from the NHS COVID-19 app

Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian's permission to continue the call.

You'll be asked to sign in to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website at

If you cannot use the contact tracing website, they will call you.


NHS Test and Trace will not:

  • ask for bank details or payments
  • ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

Page last reviewed: 16 September 2021
Next review due: 30 September 2021