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This guidance may change and people are advised to check often to keep up with the latest advice .

For anyone instructed to self-isolate three tests will be required, on the first, sixth or seventh, and the thirteenth day of isolation.

If you do not wish to be tested, you must complete a 21 day period of mandatory self-isolation instead.

All returning residents must isolate at their own cost in a separate household. You must not self-isolate with members of the same household unless they have travelled with you. Visit booking accommodation and financial support for returning residents

If you are a positive case or identified as a close contact of a positive case you must remain at home for the period of your self-isolation.

You will receive a Direction Notice and should follow this.

You can use your garden if you have one and do not need to use communal area to access it.

Failure to adhere to the conditions of your self-isolation is an offence under the Public Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020.

When to self-isolate

You must self-isolate if you or anyone else in your household have coronavirus symptoms, has had a positive test or has been issued with a direction notice.

If you develop symptoms you must also then seek clinical advice using the online assessment to determine whether you need to call the COVID 111 helpline. At this point, you must not leave your home for any reason.

If the test result is positive, your contact details will be passed onto the Cabinet Office Contact Tracing Service so any contacts can be followed up and also issued with a mandatory direction notice to self-isolate.

Do not leave your place of residence; stay at home.

Anyone with symptoms should then self-isolate until they have received a negative test result and received instruction from a clinician to cease isolation when symptoms have resolved.

Guidance for you in self-isolation

When self-isolating:

    DO NOT leave your home for any reason

    DO NOT go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home

    DO NOT take your dog for a walk, you will need to get someone else to do it. See Can I walk my dog?

    DO NOT use outdoor communal areas, such as designated smoking areas

    DO NOT go to your vaccination appointment. If you have one booked, you can re-schedule it for after the self-isolation period is competed. If you are self-isolating by choice, you can still attend the appointment.

    DO  continue to use your garden, if you have one but you should only use it if you feel well enough and do not need to access communal areas to get to it

    DO  stay away from other family/household members where possible to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

    DO  clean surfaces and door handles regularly and keep rooms ventilated to stop the spread of infection. See social distancing and good hygiene.

If your symptoms worsen during self-isolation or are no better after 14 days, contact your GP/MEDS. For a medical emergency dial 999. 

While you are ill or self-isolating, arrange for all food, medical and other supplies to be delivered to your home and ensure that the delivery person /driver/friend does not enter your home.

Do not leave your place of residence; stay at home.

See also: 

Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person


Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. 

Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.

Clean and disinfect anything used for transporting laundry with your usual products, in line with the cleaning guidance above.

See also: 

Managing household waste

Guidance for cleaning for those with COVID-19

Exiting isolation

When you have completed mandatory self-isolation and/or received a negative test result, 111 will advise on exiting isolation. 

Some people recovering from COVID-19 will still have a dry cough at that time but so long as you feel well and your temperature is back to normal, you are fine to end isolation. If you still have a temperature, you should remain at home and it should go down over a couple of days.

Frequently asked questions

See information for those self-isolating separately from your household, eg if you’ve travelled.

Can I exercise?

From Thursday 11 March, where someone who has been told to self-isolate because they are a high-risk contact receives a negative test result for COVID-19, they and other members of their household will be able to leave their accommodation for up to one hour of exercise each day, so long as no one else in the household has tested positive for COVID-19.

When exercising outside, a face covering must be used and social distancing must be observed from other people they may encounter. Members of the same household are able to exercise together but must not mix with other households.

See Revised rules for exercise for certain types of COVID-19 isolation

I live in a flat. Can I take my rubbish out and collect my mail?

No. Rubbish should be disposed of by someone in your building not in self isolation.

I have a carer. Can they still visit me in a non-emergency?

If you are in need of care in your home then your carer can still visit you, however they must wear full PPE at all times, maintaining social distancing and good hand hygiene for the duration of the visit. You must advise your carer in advance of the visit that you are in self isolation. The carer will need to perform their risk assessment if employed by an agency/government.

Can I move back into shared accommodation after I have completed self-isolation?

You may move to a household where other people live after your period of self-isolation if this is your usual place of residence.

Can I visit my GP or any other healthcare centre during the isolation period? 

No. You must not leave your house for the duration of the period of self-isolation, unless the period of exercise has been approved following two negative tests. If you require regular medication, you must make arrangements to ensure this can be dropped off to you. You can contact your GP for telephone advice if required.

Can I go to hospital in an emergency? 

Yes, in the case of an emergency you must dial 999 and attend hospital if necessary. Please tell 999 you are self–isolating, if you can.

What happens if I test positive while in isolation?

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will receive:

  • Advice from clinicians at 111, which will include amended self-isolation period
  • Your contact details will be passed onto the Public Health Contact Tracing Service so they can contact you to identify any contact you have had with other persons that might be at risk of infection. Anyone identified in this way will be followed up and advised, to help prevent further spread of disease.

Take the example of 4 members of a household: A, B, C and D.

Household member A is what is called a high-risk contact (direct contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19).

Household member B, C and D are not direct contacts so do not need to be tested but need to isolate for the same period as household member A.

If household member A tests positive on any day during isolation whether he/she has symptoms or not, he/she becomes the new positive case and will need to extend his/her isolation period.

Household members B, C and D then become high risk contacts (direct contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19) and they are required to isolate for a period of 21 days or 14 days with 2 negative tests, from the date of A’s positive test.

See also: 

Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

Someone I had contact with tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?

There is a chance that you could become infected with COVID-19 but it depends on the nature of the contact you had with the person and where they were up to in the disease process at the time you were with them.

If you had prolonged and close contact whilst they had symptoms it is best if you stay at home to help stop any spread of infection.

You are not required to self-isolate until you are instructed to do so by the Contact Tracing Team. However please make sure that you are available in case you receive a call. The Contact Tracing Team will be interviewing and assessing the positive case to find close or high risk contacts and you might then be identified for a call. In the meantime, you should take any necessary precautions to keep your distance from others, including those within your household and practice good hand hygiene, while also keeping your surroundings clean. See guidance on stopping the spread of COVID-19 for more information. If you develop symptoms, at any time please use the online self-assessment and call 111 if advised to do so.

See also:

Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

For those isolating separately from your household

I have an annex as part of my main house. Can I self–isolate in there without the rest of my household needing to isolate as well? Or can my household move into the annex and I isolate in the main house?

Yes, either way is acceptable. An annex is a building or part of a building which has been constructed or adapted for use as a separate living accommodation. This is acceptable to self-isolate in as long as it meets the following requirements:

  • It has a separate external door – it must be fully accessible from outside
  • Facilities within that do not need to be shared i.e. kitchen, bathroom
  • Any internal access must be able to be secured from within the annex

This also applies to a mobile static or temporary home which must remain at a fixed location for the period of the self-isolation, so long as waste disposal and water provisions can be met by the person in isolation.

I have a motorhome. Can I self-isolate in there away from my household? 

• Yes, as long as it is fully self-contained as detailed above, and there is no requirement to share facilities.
• You must ensure that waste disposal and the provision of fuel is undertaken by someone in your household.
• The motorhome must remain in place for the duration of the period of self-isolation.

If the motor home is parked on the property can I access the gardens and driveway? 

Yes as long you do not come into contact with anyone from your household at any time.

Can the motorhome be parked on the street?

If there is a driveway available then the motorhome should be parked there. If there is no driveway available then it must be parked in the street outside your home to ensure that waste disposal can be undertaken. All steps must be taken, when exiting the vehicle to exercise, to ensure that the area is clear of other passing pedestrians.

I have an ensuite in my house. Can I self–isolate in my bedroom without the rest of my household needing to isolate as well?

No. The alternative accommodation must be fully self-contained as described above. If this is not an option then hotel or self contained accommodation should be booked for the duration of isolation. There is no financial assistance available for this.

Can I self-isolate in a tent /horsebox/converted garage/shed in the garden?

No. The alternative accommodation must be fully self-contained as described above.