Changes to self-isolation guidance come into effect

Published: 16 August 2021

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Guidance about self-isolation has changed.

From today (16 August) fully vaccinated people and those under 18 will no longer have to self-isolate if they are flagged as a close contact of a positive COVID case.

The change was announced last month, as part of step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap.

Previously, everyone had to self-isolate if contacted by NHS Test and Trace, unless they're on a list of critical workers. Anyone "pinged" by the app and told to self-isolate was advised to self-isolate for ten days.

Under the new guidance, those who have had both COVID vaccines (with their second dose being at least 14 days prior), and those under 18 years old, do not need to self-isolate if they are identified as a contact.

If you are told you are a contact of a positive case, you are instead strongly encouraged to get a free PCR test even if you feel well. You can order a PCR home test online, by calling 119, or booking a slot at a local testing site.

The Test and Trace COVID-19 app will also be updated to align with the changes to self-isolation.

If you are called by NHS Test and Trace and told you are a contact, you will be asked your age and vaccination status to determine if you need to self-isolate.

As we remain at risk of being infected whether or not we have been vaccinated, it is still advised that people consider precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and if we are known to be a contact of a positive case, we also limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. If a member of your household tests positive, then you are a much higher risk of being infected and should consider limiting yourself to only essential activities.

If you test positive from a PCR test you will still be legally required to self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status or age. Equally, anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test and remain in isolation until the result comes back.

Dr Robyn Dewis, Director of Public Health, Derby City Council, said:

“The effect of self-isolation for contacts has undoubtedly been felt by many people, businesses and families. However, this change in guidance does not mean that the risk for close contacts has disappeared.

“It is vital that we remember that people who are flagged as close contacts, regardless of their vaccination status, are still at very high risk of contracting and spreading the virus, particularly if they live with the person who has tested positive.

“To keep ourselves, loved ones and our city safer, it is strongly advised that contacts get a free PCR test, and, if they are not already doing so, consider other measures such as wearing a face covering in crowded places or limiting the amount of social contact they have.

“Most importantly, I strongly advise you consider booking your vaccination if you have not already done so. This is our best protection against serious illness and hospitalisation from the virus.”

Further details of the changes can be found on the Government website.

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