Do I have to self isolate if I’m double jabbed? Isolation rules for vaccinated people in contact with Covid

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Rules for fully vaccinated contacts of a Covid-19 case in England have been tightened in response to the Omicron outbreak

Self isolation rules have been tightened in England in response to the Omicron Covid-19 outbreak.

The changes come following the reintroduction of mandatory face masks in indoor settings and stricter testing requirements for travel.

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It is hoped the temporary restrictions will help to curb the spread of the new variant, which has now reached more than 4,700 cases in the UK so far.

The Health Secretary has warned that Omicron is now causing around 200,000 new infections per day and urged people to take up the offer of a booster jab to boost immunity levels this winter.

The UK government is aiming to offer a booster to all adults by the end of December - a month earlier than its original target.

But what are the isolation rules if you have been fully vaccinated? Here’s what you need to know about the latest restrictions.

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Do I have to self isolate if I’ve been double jabbed?

From Tuesday (14 December), anyone who is double jabbed and identified as a contact of someone with Covid-19 in England must take a daily lateral flow test for seven days instead of self isolating.

This guidance applies to all cases of coronavirus, regardless of whether it is the Omicron variant or other strains.

The daily testing has replaced the former rule which required all Omicron contacts to isolate for 10 days, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The policy aims to help identify asymptomatic cases and stop the chains of transmission.

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The DHSC said close contacts of people who test positive are at higher risk of getting Covid-19 and, with one in three people being asymptomatic, daily testing will help ensure people are not unknowingly passing the virus on to others.

All adults who are unvaccinated are not eligible for the new daily testing policy.

Instead, those who have not been fully jabbed must self isolate for 10 days if they are a contact of someone who tests positive for Covid-19.

What happens if I am identified as a contact?

The government has said all contacts of someone with Covid-19 will be informed by NHS Test and Trace via text message, email or phone, or via a notification from the NHS Covid-19 app.

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You can be a contact any time from two days before someone developed symptoms or took a positive test, and up to 10 days after.

Contacts are advised to order a box of seven lateral flow tests free of charge from NHS Test and Trace either through pharmacies, schools or home delivery by ordering online.

If the test comes back positive, or if you develop coronavirus symptoms, you should self isolate and take a PCR test to verify the result.

If the PCR result comes back positive, contacts must isolate for 10 days from the day they took the positive rapid test or developed symptoms, and do not need to continue taking rapid tests during that isolation period.

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If the PCR result comes back negative, contacts can leave isolation but should continue to take rapid tests for the remainder of the seven days.

The DHSC said anyone identified as a contact with a negative lateral flow test is “strongly advised” to limit close contact with other people outside their household, especially in crowded or enclosed spaces and with anyone who is more vulnerable.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “If you are identified as a contact of someone with Covid-19, taking a rapid daily test – and only needing to isolate if it is positive – will help reduce the spread of the virus and minimise its impact on our everyday lives over the coming weeks and months.

“Our latest analysis shows that boosters provide the best protection against the Omicron variant, please go forward when you are called.

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“If you haven’t had any vaccine, a first and second dose still gives you protection against becoming seriously unwell.

“Don’t worry about stepping forwards now – you will be warmly welcomed by our vaccination staff and I would strongly advise you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

What if I test positive for Covid?

If you test positive for Covid-19, you must self isolate at home even if you have had one or more doses of a vaccine.

The isolation period includes the day your symptoms start, or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms, and the next 10 full days.

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