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Do you have to isolate if someone in your house has Covid? Self isolation rules for households explained

The self isolation and testing rules for Covid vary across the UK

Covid infections in the UK have recently increased and a new variant, named Omicron, has also been identified, but with ever-changing rules regarding testing and isolation, what are the restrictions in place if someone you live with tests positive for coronavirus?

Here’s what you need to know.

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Do I have to isolate if someone in my house has Covid?

In England, you need to self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these three symptoms of Covid 19, even if they are mild:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You should also self-isolate straight away if:

However, if someone you live with has symptoms of Covid, or has tested positive for the virus, you will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you’re fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a Covid vaccine given by the NHS
  • you’re under 18 years, 6 months old
  • you’re taking part or have taken part in a Covid vaccine trial
  • you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

However, if you live with or have been in contact with someone who may have the Omicron variant of Covid-19, this does not apply and you’ll still need to self-isolate. NHS Test and Trace will contact you if this is the case.

Even if you do not have symptoms, you should still:

What are the self-isolation rules in Scotland?

In Scotland, anyone who tests positive for Omicron in Scotland must self-isolate for 10 days. All close contacts of suspected Omicron infections must also self-isolate for 10 days, whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

People will be told when they receive their PCR results if they have the Omicron variant.

For non-Omicron cases, anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 must also self-isolate for 10-days.

If you are fully vaccinated and a close contact of someone who tests positive for Covid, you must isolate until you get a PCR test. If your result then comes back negative and you remain asymptomatic, you will no longer have to isolate.

However, if you are not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated and are identified as a close contact of someone with Covid, you must isolate for 10-days regardless of the result of your PCR test.

What are the self-isolation rules in Wales?

If you live in Wales and have any coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change of taste or smell, you should self-isolate at home and get a test. You should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

However, adults who have been fully vaccinated and received the Covid vaccine in the UK, and those under the age of 18, will no longer have to self-isolate if they are identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive for Covid.

You will be asked to take PCR tests on Day 2 from your last contact with the positive case and on Day 8.

It is important that you take these tests even if you feel well, as you may have Covid even if you do not have symptoms.

However, people in Wales will have to self-isolate for 10 days, even if they have been fully vaccinated, if they come into contact with a probable or confirmed case of the Omicron Covid variant.

What are the self-isolation rules in Northern Ireland?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus Covid, however mild, you should begin self-isolating and book a PCR test.

If you’re a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid, including living in the same household as someone with coronavirus, self-isolation and testing requirements will depend on whether you’re fully vaccinated, your age and where you work.

If you are aged 18 and over, but not fully vaccinated, you should self-isolate for 10 days following last contact with the positive person.

You will be asked to take a PCR but, even if this is negative, you still need to complete the isolation period.

However,  if you are fully vaccinated and it has been more than 14 days since you received the second dose of an approved Covid vaccine, then you do not need to self-isolate for 10 days if someone you have been in close contact with tests positive for coronavirus.

You should get a PCR test on day two and day eight of the 10-day period following last contact with the positive person.

However, fully vaccinated travellers arriving into Northern Ireland from non Red-list countries will have to self isolate for 10 days, until able to provide a negative Covid test result.