Beta

This is a new service - your feedback will help us to improve it.

COVID-19 - self isolation scenarios

The below scenarios for self-isolation may help you determine if you need to self-isolate following the changes to self-isolation guidance from 16 August.

Scenario 1 – person is under the age of 18

Mo is a 16-year-old student. She has attended a party over the weekend and over the next few days several of her friends test positive for COVID-19. Although Mo is a close contact of the positive case, she does not need to self-isolate because she is under 18. Mo is strongly advised to take a PCR test and will only need to self-isolate if she tests positive for COVID-19. If Mo goes on to develop any COVID-19 symptoms she will then need to self-isolate and take another PCR test.  

Scenario 2 – person has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

Sam is 35 and received his second vaccination dose in June. Sam’s partner tests positive for COVID-19. Although Sam is identified as a close contact, Sam does not need to self-isolate because he is double vaccinated. Sam is strongly advised to take a PCR test and will only need to self-isolate if he tests positive for COVID-19. If Sam develops any COVID-19 symptoms he will need to self-isolate and take another PCR test. Sam’s partner by law must complete the full self-isolation period advised by NHS Test and Trace, as they have tested positive for COVID-19.   

Scenario 3 – person has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine but less than two weeks before being identified as a close contact

Steve, who is in his 30s, had his second vaccination on 14 August 2021. On 17 August, he is notified by NHS Test and Trace that he has been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19. By law Steve must self-isolate. He is not exempt from self-isolation because less than two weeks have passed between him receiving the second dose of COVID-19 vaccination and contact with the positive case, and he is not fully vaccinated.

Scenario 4 – person has had both COVID-19 vaccinations and is in self-isolation on 16 August

Manjit has been self-isolating since the 11 August as she was a close contact of a positive case. Under previous guidance, her isolation period was due to finish at midnight on 21 August, meaning on 22 August she would be allowed to leave her home.  Manjit is 40 and had her second COVID-19 vaccination in May 2021. Therefore Manjit’s duty to self-isolate ends at 00.01 on 16 August 2021, when the change in guidance came into effect (meaning that her last day of mandatory self-isolation falls on 15 August 2021).  

Scenario 5 – person has only had one COVID-19 vaccination and is in self-isolation on 16 August

Amanda has been self-isolating since 11 August as she was identified as a close contact of a positive case. Her isolation period is due to finish at midnight on 21 August, meaning on 22 August she is allowed to leave her home.  Amanda is 23 and has only just had her first COVID-19 vaccination. Amanda is not eligible for early release from the duty to self-isolate therefore she is required to stay at home for the full duration of her self-isolation period.  

Scenario 6 – person has tested positive for COVID-19

Alex has tested positive for COVID-19 on 14 August. He has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and advised he is required by law to self-isolate. Alex is required to complete the self-isolation period regardless of his age or vaccination status because he has COVID-19. By staying at home and completing the self-isolation period Alex is stopping the virus from spreading.  

If you are required to self-isolate and unable to work, you may be eligible for a payment of £500 if you’re on a low income. For more information, please see the COVID-19 - help for residents page of our website. 

Read more on NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted 

Read more on COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection