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Self-isolation reduced to 5 days after negative LFT’s

From Monday, 17 January, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6.

The first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. If an individual is positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on day 6 and day 7 to release from isolation.

It is essential that two negative lateral flow tests are taken on consecutive days and reported before individuals return to their job or education, if leaving self-isolation earlier than the full 10 day period.

For instance, if an individual is positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on both day 6 and day 7 to release from self-isolation, or positive on day 6, then a negative test is required on days 7 and 8, and so on until the end of day 10.

If individuals test positive during their isolation period it does not restart the clock for the 10 day isolation period. Day 0 of the isolation period is when you first show symptoms or, if asymptomatic, the day you took your test.

Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 6 are strongly advised to wear face coverings and limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home if they can do so and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19.

The default self-isolation period continues to be 10 days, and you may only leave self-isolation early if you have taken two LFDs and do not have a temperature in line with guidance.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

After reviewing all of the evidence, we’ve made the decision to reduce the minimum self-isolation period to five full days in England.

These two tests are critical to these balanced and proportionate plans and I’d urge everyone to take advantage of the capacity we’ve built up in tests so we can restore more freedom to this country, whilst we are keeping everyone safe.

The rules for contacts have not changed. Fully vaccinated individuals who are identified as contacts of someone with COVID-19 should take daily LFDs for 7 days but are not legally required to self-isolate. Unvaccinated contacts are legally required to self-isolate for the full 10 day period. staying at home if you feel unwell

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