Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice if you need to self-isolate

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

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting the results of a test for COVID-19, live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive, or you have been told by NHS Test and Trace that you need to self-isolate.

Find out what you need to do if you need to self isolate:

You must also self-isolate if you arrive into the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk:

What to do if you are waiting to have a test for COVID or are awaiting test results

If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are waiting to have a test, or are waiting for the results of a test, you need to self-isolate. This is to protect other people from catching COVID-19 from you if you test positive.

Read our guidance on what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and how to get a test on our:

If you have a negative test result for COVID-19 you can stop isolating as long as you feel well and no one else in your household has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, and you have not been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace:

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What to do if you need to self-isolate

You must self-isolate if:

  • you have tested positive for COVID-19
  • are awaiting the results of a test for COVID-19
  • live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
  • you have been told by NHS Test and Trace that you need to self-isolate

Read this guidance from the NHS about what you must and must not do when you are self-isolating:

Read this government guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection:

Read this guidance about NHS Test and Trace and how it works:

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How long to self-isolate

If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you'll usually need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

You usually need to self-isolate for 14 days if:

  • Someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • You've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Read more about how long to self-isolate in this guidance from the NHS:

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What to do if you need help with shopping, picking up medicine, pet care, etc

If you are self-isolating, you may need to ask for help with shopping, picking up medicines or other tasks such as walking your dog.

For household groceries and essential items, most of the major supermarkets offer online shopping and a home delivery service.

If you do not have friends or family who could help you, you can request help from one of our community response volunteers. Please complete this form if you need help:

Read this guidance from the government which includes advice about how to make sure your dog gets exercised if you are self-isolating and advice for someone who is walking a dog on behalf of someone who is self-isolating:

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What to do if you are worried about your job or money

If you are told to self-isolate, you need to tell your employer. If you cannot work from home your employer should tell you if you're covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employ, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay or another type of financial support.

Read this guidance from the government about what to do if you are employed and can't work due to COVID-19.

If you have been told by the NHS to self-isolate, because you have tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period. The new Test and Trace Support payment of £500 will ensure those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without concerns around their finances.

Read these frequently asked questions about who is eligible to apply for a self-isolation grant and how to apply for one:

Read this guidance about what to do if you are self-employed and need to self-isolate:

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