Reducing self-isolation to five days

Published Monday 17 January 2022 at 14:18

From today (Mon 17 January) people may be able to reduce their Covid self-isolation to five full days – provided they receive negative rapid test results on two consecutive days.

The government has made this further change to self-isolation guidance to support essential public services and keep supply chains running.

Anyone with Covid can now take a rapid lateral flow test daily from day 5 of their self-isolation.

When they get two consecutive negative results – taken 24 hours apart – and provided that they have no Covid symptoms, they can end their self-isolation.

However, they are advised to limit their social contact, particularly with vulnerable people, and work from home if possible.

They are also encouraged to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces and when in close contact with others.

Prof Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health, said:

The government seems to have based its decision to further reduce the self-isolation period on economic activity and business continuity.

While many people, including employers, will welcome this, it does appear to me to be a risky strategy to allow people who may still be infectious to return to their usual activities.

I would urge everyone to follow this new guidance with caution. Even if you get negative lateral flow test results on days 5 and 6, please consider whether it is essential that you go out – and take sensible precautions if you do, to avoid unwittingly passing on the infection to others.

Anyone who continues to have Covid symptoms after day 6, despite getting two negative results on lateral flow tests, should continue isolating until their symptoms have cleared.

The default self-isolation period continues to be 10 days. It is only possible for someone to leave self-isolation early if they get two negative rapid lateral flow tests, and they do not have a temperature.

Separate guidance for people who work in health and social care settings states that they can end their self-isolation on the 6th day, but they also have to meet additional conditions before returning to work, including testing daily until the 10th day after their positive test.

There is no change to the self-isolation period for unvaccinated adults who are close-contacts of people with Covid – this remains a full 10 days.

Find more detail on self-isolation guidance on the website.

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.