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I've been told to self-isolate. What do I need to do?

If you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, you need to stay at home for 10 days.

You must stay home at all times. This means:

  • You cannot go to the shops or take daily exercise outside the home. If you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 234 6084
  • Do not have social visitors, including friends and family or non-essential in-house services and repairs during the self-isolation period
  • Try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible
  • Essential care should continue in line with guidance. Routine, face to face, medical and dental appointments should be postponed while you are self-isolating. For medical advice if your health is worsening, contact NHS111
  • If there is a medical emergency and you need to call an ambulance, dial 999. Inform the call handler or operator that you or someone in your household has Covid-19 or symptoms

Your 10-day isolation will start after either:

  • The day that your symptoms started, or the day of the test if you had no symptoms (for both those who have tested positive and their household members)
  • The day you were last in contact with the person who tested positive for coronavirus (for close contacts outside the household)

If you were isolating as a contact of someone who tested positive and then you develop symptoms yourself, your 10 days restarts from the day after your symptoms started - this will mean you're self-isolating for longer than 10 days overall.

If you are a close contact and told to self isolate you must do so, even if you go for a test and test negative, as a close contact, you must self isolate for 10 full days.

If you live with other people and anyone in your household tests positive, everyone has to self-isolate and follow this guidance.

It may be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others in their household, the person who tests positive should:

  • Stay in their room and isolate from the rest of the household
  • Spend as little time as possible in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas
  • Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat
  • Use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household where possible. If a separate bathroom is not available, clean the area after you have used it
  • You should use separate towels from other household members, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for drying your hands
  • Keep your room well-ventilated by opening a window to the outside
  • Use a face covering or a surgical mask when spending time in shared areas inside your home to minimise the risk of spread to others

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