We have continued to receive update guidance this week, which I have attempted to summarise below.
Changes to Self-isolation arrangements for those identified as close contacts of a confirmed positive case:
- Arrangements on self-isolation have changed. All over 18 who are have received 2 full doses of an approved vaccine and children aged 5-17 are now asked to take lateral flow tests every day for 7 days if they are identified as a contact of a positive Covid-19 case, this is known as ‘Daily Contact Testing’. Please note that contacts of a positive case are unlikely to equate to an entire class.
- If identified, it is recommended to take ‘Daily Contact Testing’ before they arrive at school each day. These individuals do not need to self-isolate on that day unless they received a positive Later Flow Test or develop symptoms.
- Children under 5 years are not required to self-isolate or test as contacts but need to stay at home and isolate for 7 days if they develop any symptoms.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible. This applies even if you have mild symptoms or if you have tested positive before.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature
- a continuous cough
- loss or change of taste or smell
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and take a PCR test as soon as possible. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 you must self-isolate and follow the guidance below.
You can leave self-isolation after 7 full days (on day 8 of your self-isolation period).
You should take a lateral flow test (LFT) on day 6 of your self-isolation period and another lateral flow test 24 hours later. This is to check if you remain infectious and could pass COVID-19 on to others.
You should not take a LFT before the sixth day of your self-isolation period because the risks of remaining infectious and the chances of passing it on to others before this period is significantly higher.
If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should follow this guidance. If you are not fully vaccinated, you are legally required to self-isolate as a close contact for 10 days.
If you have had a positive lateral flow test, you should report the result, self-isolate and follow self-isolation guidance. You no longer need to book a follow-up PCR test (unless you have been advised to take a PCR test because you are in a clinically vulnerable group who may need early access to treatment, or have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme).
If you do not have symptoms, but you test positive
You may be advised to take a PCR or LFT if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. This could also be part of workplace arrangements.
If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 (within the last 90 days) you should firstly take a LFT instead of a PCR. This is because there is a risk that a PCR test may detect residual traces of the virus leftover in your body.
If your test result is positive, you must self-isolate from the day of your test and for the next 7 days. As set out above, you should take LFTs on or after day 6 and 7 to check if you are still infectious before leaving self-isolation.
If your original positive result was from a LFT, you should report the result, self-isolate and follow the above self-isolation guidance. You no longer need to book a follow-up PCR test (unless you have been advised to take a PCR test because you are in a clinically vulnerable group who may need early access to treatment, or have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme).
Fully vaccinated adults and young people aged between 5 and 17
If you are a fully vaccinated adult or aged between 5 and 17 you do not need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact but you are strongly advised to:
- take a LFT every day unless you cannot conduct an LFT for medical reasons for 7 days or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier
- take this daily test before you leave the house for the first time that day
- upload all tests results on GOV.UK even if negative or void. This helps improve our understanding of infection rates across the UK and helps inform how we manage the pandemic to keep people safe whilst keeping life as normal as possible
The tests are free.
You can get LFTs by:
- using any unused stocks of LFTs that you may have at home. Please do not stockpile tests
- collecting from an education setting (school/university/college etc.) or workplace setting under agreed schemes
- collecting from a pharmacy or a local collection point: Find your nearest pharmacy or collection point and opening times (on nhs.uk)
- by ordering online for home delivery: Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK. You can order 1 home testing kit (7 tests) at a time. Delivery takes 2 days
You should follow this advice for 10 full days after your most recent contact with the person who has tested positive with COVID-19 or the end of a positive household member’s self-isolation period
If any of these LFT tests are positive you should report the result and must self-isolate for at least 7 days starting from the date the LFT test was taken. You no longer need to book a follow-up PCR test (unless you have been advised to take a PCR test because you are in a clinically vulnerable group who may need early access to treatment, or have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme).
Children under the age of 5
Children under 5 do not need to take a PCR or a LFT, even if they have COVID-19 symptoms. They can take a test if a doctor advises it, or if a parent believes a test is absolutely necessary and in the best interests of a child.
If they have symptoms or if they have been a close contact of a positive case, they do not need to complete any mandatory period of self-isolation. They should stay home until they are well enough to return to school or childcare setting.
If a child under 5 has symptoms, other household members do not need to isolate unless the child takes a test and has a positive result. If a child does take a test and the result is positive, then the child must self-isolate for at least 7 days and the child and contacts need to follow the self-isolation guidance.