If you develop any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and self-isolate immediately. If you have a positive LFD or PCR test result but do not have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and self-isolate as soon as you receive the results. You should do this even if you have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Other people in your household might need to self-isolate too. Please see section below for information on what the other members of your household need to do.
5.1 Order a PCR test if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, arrange to have a PCR test by ordering it online or by calling 119. You do not need to take a PCR test if you have already taken an LFD test and the result was positive.
You should stay at home while you are waiting for a home test kit, a test site appointment or a test result. You can leave your home in a few specific circumstances, but do not go to work, school, or public areas and do not use public transport or taxis. See the circumstances in which you can leave home.
If you need to leave your home to get to a test site, wear a well-fitting face covering made with multiple layers, stay at least 2 metres apart from other people who you do not live with, and return home immediately afterwards.
5.2 Stay at home and self-isolate
Stay at home and self-isolate if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have a positive LFD or PCR test result. Self-isolation will help protect your family, friends and the wider community by reducing the risk that you will pass the infection on to others.
Your self-isolation period starts immediately from when your symptoms started, or, if you do not have any symptoms, from when your positive LFD or PCR test was taken, whichever test was taken first. Your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. It may be possible to end your self-isolation earlier (see below).
This means that if, for example, your symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month (or if you did not have symptoms but your first positive COVID-19 test was taken on the 15th), your self-isolation period ends at 23:59hrs on the 25th of the month.
You can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if your symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If you still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice.
You may be able to end your self-isolation period before the end of the 10 full days. You can take an LFD test from 5 days after the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you did not have symptoms), and another LFD test on the following day. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result.
Report your LFD test results after taking each test.
You should not take an LFD test before the fifth day of your self-isolation period, and you should only end your self-isolation after you have had 2 negative LFD tests taken on consecutive days. You should stop testing after you have had 2 consecutive negative test results.
This guidance also applies to children and young people who usually attend an education or childcare setting.
You will be unable to use either your domestic or travel NHS COVID Pass for 10 days following a positive test result.
If both your LFD test results are negative, it is likely that you were not infectious at the time the tests were taken. To further reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 on to others, if you end your self-isolation period before 10 full days you are strongly advised to:
- limit close contact with other people outside your household, especially in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces
- work from home if you are able to
- wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces and where you are in close contact with other people
- limit contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19
- follow the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19
You should follow this advice until 10 full days from when your self-isolation period started.