coronavirus National News

Policy Change to the Covid Isolation Period

Due to the current and anticipated increase in positive cases across the UK and the impact of higher numbers self- isolating, this is likely to lead to significant disruption across the economy and public services. 

In order to keep the country safe and moving during this wave, from Wednesday 22nd December 2021, positive cases will be able to leave self-isolation if they take LFD tests on two consecutive days from Day 6, these must be taken at least a full 24 hours apart. 

Both test results on each day must be negative and if the case does not have a high temperature, they can leave self-isolation.

Those leaving self-isolation early as a result of these changes will be strongly advised to follow the current Winter Plan B regulations in place, including limiting close contact with others outside their household, especially in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces.  

Where a case is already on day 7 or day 8 on the 22nd of December they will still need two negative LFD tests at least a full 24 hours apart to be able to leave self-isolation early no longer have to self-isolate for the full 10 days. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period. There are no changes for contacts, with unvaccinated contacts still having to isolated for 10 days.

What is changing?

  • From Wednesday 22nd December all isolation periods for positive cases, in England, can leave self-isolation if they:
  • Take two LFD tests on subsequent days, at least a full 24 hours apart, with the first test on at least the sixth full day of their self-isolation (not counting the ‘onset day’).
  • Obtain negative results on both these days and do not have a high temperature
  • Positive cases who started their self-isolation prior to the 22nd of December will be able to undertake LFD tests on consecutive days from Day 6, a full 24 hours apart, and if these tests are negative will be able to leave isolation.  
  • It will not be possible to make any immediate changes to the NHS COVID-19 App messages for positive cases, but the date counter will be updated for 23 December. 
  • Screen changes in the NHS COVID-19 App will be updated at a later date.
  • SMS Messages and e-mails will be updated on 23 December to reflect the change, cases should be advised to follow the advice and guidance sent to them.
  • Non-digital positive cases will be advised on isolation periods on the Trace calls they receive.

What is not changing?   

There is no change to isolation guidance for close contacts, and unvaccinated adults still need to isolate for 10 days.