Changes to self-isolation rules in England
From Monday 16 August, people who are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 and 6 months will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. That includes where they live in the same household as someone who has tested positive or has symptoms. It also applies if the person is not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
Fully vaccinated means having been vaccinated with an MHRA approved Covid-19 vaccine in the UK, and at least 14 days have passed since they received the recommended doses of that vaccine.
Under the new guidance a person who is not legally required to self-isolate is advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible, although this is advice not a rule. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site. The person does not have to self-isolate whilst awaiting the test result.
Who still has to self-isolate?
If a close contact does not meet any of the above criteria they are still required to self -isolate for 10 days following the day that their household member’s symptoms started (or, if asymptomatic, the day the person took their test) or, for non-household contacts, for 10 days from the day after they last had contact with the person who tested positive.
If someone has Covid 19 symptoms or has received a positive test result must still self-isolate even if fully vaccinated or under 18.
Who counts as a contact?
This is where a person has been close to someone who has tested positive any time from 2 days before the person developed symptoms or from 2 days before the test if they did not have symptoms and up to 10 days after.
Close contact remains defined as:
- face-to-face contact, including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre;
- been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact; and
- been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day).
- It can include travelling the same vehicle but does not include an interaction through a perspex or other screen unless there has been other contact as above.
Advice for vaccinated contacts
The government advises that, as well as getting a PCR test, those who do not have to self-isolate as contacts should consider taking certain steps to help reduce the risk of transmission, such as:
- limiting close contact with people outside their household, especially in enclosed spaces;
- wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and where they are unable to maintain social distancing;
- limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable; and
- taking part in regular LFD testing.
The advice is to follow these precautions until 10 full days after their most recent contact with the person who has tested positive for Covid-19 (or, if that person is in the individual’s household, for the duration of that person’s self-isolation).
Please take note of the new rules if you’re currently employed and take necessary steps to keep you and your team safe.