From today, the length of time you need to self-isolate can be reduced to five full days.
The default period for self-isolation remains ten days – with a temporary pause on needing a confirmatory PCR test. Today’s changes mean you can end self-isolation after five full days, providing you return two negative lateral flow tests on consecutive days.
Here are two examples of how this can work.
- Monday – You get a positive lateral flow test, and begin to isolate immediately (no PCR needed). This is Day 1.
- Day 5 of your isolation is Friday. This is the earliest you should take another lateral flow test. If this is negative, continue to isolate and take another lateral flow test the next day.
- Day 6 is Saturday. Take a follow up lateral flow test. If this is also negative and you do not have a temperature, you can end your isolation.
The key is that you need to return negative days on two consecutive days.
Here’s another example:
- Monday – You get a positive lateral flow test. This is Day 1.
- Day 5 of your isolation is Friday. You take another lateral flow test and it is positive. You continue to isolate.
- Day 6 is Saturday. Take a lateral flow test. If this is negative, you must stay in isolation and see how you test the next day.
- Day 7 is Sunday. If your lateral flow test today is negative, then you can end your isolation, provided you do not have a temperature.
In this second scenario, you must continue to isolate until you get negative results on consecutive days, or the maximum ten days self-isolation period has expired.
Ordering and reporting Lateral Flow Tests
Lateral flow tests are free to order online, either for delivery to your home or collection from a pharmacy. Your place of work, school, college or university may also have supplies.
After carrying out your test at home, you should report your result, whether it is positive or negative. You can report your test results online.
Boost your protection against Omicron
The best protection against the Omicron, the newest variant of COVID-19, is to get fully vaccinated.
This is two doses for everybody aged 12 and over, with an additional booster for people 16 and above. People aged 16 and older with certain health conditions may be offered a third vaccine dose, as well as the booster.