Boris Johnon has confirmed the legal requirement to self-isolate if a person tests positive or is a contact of someone with Covid will be scrapped in England, as the country moves away from “state mandation” to “personal responsibility”.
But what has been said about changes to self-isolation rules across the whole of the UK? Here’s what you need to know.
When does self-isolation end in England?
It is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid in England from Thursday (24 February).
The official public health advice remains that both adults and children testing positive for the virus should stay at home for five days, but this will not be enforced by law.
The government is also no longer asking vaccinated contacts, and those under 18, to test for seven days, and has removed the legal requirement for contacts who are not vaccinated to self-isolate.
Speaking in the Commons on Monday (21 February), Mr Johnson said: “From this Thursday, it will no longer be law to self-isolate if you test positive, and so we will also end the provision of self-isolation support payments, although Statutory Sick Pay can still be claimed for a further month.
“If you’re a fully vaccinated close contact or under 18 you will no longer be asked to test daily for seven days.
“And if you are close contact who is not fully vaccinated you will no longer be required to self-isolate.”
When does self-isolation end in the rest of the UK?
The requirement to self-isolate in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland still remains, and a date for ending this rule has not yet been confirmed in the devolved nations.
The self-isolation period in Wales and Northern Ireland is currently five full days, in line with previous rules in England, providing people can produce a negative lateral flow test on day five and six.
The quarantine period starts immediately from when your symptoms first started, or from when you got a positive PCR or lateral flow test result if you do not have any symptoms - whichever was taken first.
The first test must be taken no earlier than day five, with the second to be taken the following day.
If a test comes back positive on day five, then a negative test is required on day six and day seven to release from isolation. If you still test positive on day six, then a negative test is required on days seven and eight, and so on until the end of day 10.
It is essential that two negative rapid lateral flow tests are taken on consecutive days and reported if leaving quarantine earlier than the full 10 day period.
In Scotland, people who test positive for Covid-19 must isolate for 10 days from the date a test was taken, but this can be reduced to seven days, subject to two negative lateral flow tests taken on day six and seven.
Confirmatory PCR tests for asymptomatic people who test positive on a lateral flow device are no longer required.
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