What to do if you're told to stay at home (self-isolate) by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you've been in contact with someone with coronavirus (COVID-19).
It’s a legal requirement to self-isolate if you’re told to by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not do this.
When you do not need to self-isolate
NHS Test and Trace and the NHS COVID-19 app will check whether you need to self-isolate because you’ve been in contact with someone with COVID-19.
You do not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:
- you're fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
- you're under 18 years, 6 months old
- you're taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
Even if you do not have to self-isolate, you should still:
- get a PCR test (a test that is sent to a lab) on GOV.UK to check if you have COVID-19
- follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19
- consider limiting contact with people who are at higher risk from COVID-19
What to do if you're told to self-isolate
If you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you've been in contact with someone who has COVID-19:
- self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test on GOV.UK as soon as possible – only leave your home to get a test
- do not go to work, school, or public places – work at home if you can
- do not use public transport or taxis
- do not go out to get food or medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
- do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
- try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible
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 do not have symptoms, any people you live with do not need to self-isolate. They should still take extra care to follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
What to do if you get symptoms of COVID-19
Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you get COVID-19 symptoms while you're self-isolating.
If you were told you do not have to self-isolate but you develop COVID-19 symptoms, get a PCR test as soon as possible and stay at home until you get the result.
Follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
What to do when you get your test result
If you test negative:
- keep self-isolating for the rest of the 10 days (if you were told you need to self-isolate)
- anyone you live with who is self-isolating can stop self-isolating if they do not have symptoms
If you test positive:
- you must self-isolate for 10 full days, counting from the day after your symptoms started, or the day after your PCR test if you did not have symptoms
- check if people you live with need to self-isolate
How you'll be contacted
If you've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, 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 https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk.
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