Covid-19: Self-Isolation Can End After 5 Days

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

  • People self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative on both day 5 and day 6 and do not have a temperature, from Monday, 17 January
  • Individuals who are still positive on their rapid lateral flow tests must stay in isolation until they have had 2 consecutive negative tests taken on separate days
  • This will support essential public services and keep supply chains running over the winter

From Monday 17 January, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after 5 full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6. The decision has been made after careful consideration of modelling from the UK Health Security Agency and to support essential public services and workforces over the winter.

It is crucial that people isolating with COVID-19 wait until they have received 2 negative rapid lateral flow tests on 2 consecutive days to reduce the chance of still being infectious.

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 2 negative rapid 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.

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 2 rapid lateral flow tests and do not have a temperature in line with guidance.