From today (16 August 2021), the rules on self-isolating when individuals are identified by NHS Test and Trace as being a close contact of a positive case have changed.
Under the new guidelines, people aged under 18 and people who have had both doses of their COVID-19 vaccination, with the second dose at least two weeks prior to coming into close contact with the positive case, will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
Anyone who meets these criteria and has been identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case is strongly advised to take a PCR test to check for the virus and identify any variants of concern. If they test positive for COVID-19 they will become legally required to self-isolate.
Those who are aged over 18 and not fully vaccinated will still need to isolate if they are identified as close contacts. This is to protect themselves and others and stop the virus from spreading.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms will still be required to self-isolate and book a PCR test and remain at home until they receive their results.
Stephen Gunther, Walsall Director of Public Health said:
“I want to stress that the rules around self-isolation if you have COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of your age or vaccination status have not changed.
“No matter how mild these symptoms are please stay at home and book a PCR test. You can order one to be sent to your home or you can book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site in the borough. Do not use a symptom-free test, also known as a lateral flow device.
“The number of people who are testing positive each week for the virus in Walsall remains high. We still have around 76,600 eligible adults who have not yet had both doses of the vaccines. This puts them at higher risk of catching the virus and subsequently developing serious illness, being admitted to hospital or dying.
“We know the simple but effective things we have been doing such as wearing a face covering, washing and sanitising hands regularly and ventilating indoor spaces have really helped to stop COVID passing between people.
“Continue to carry out regular symptom-free tests to check you aren’t infected and spreading the virus unknowingly. You can collect testing kits from Walsall pharmacies, visit a symptom-free testing site or order online for free. Of course, get both doses of the vaccine if you haven’t already ― the sooner, the safer.”
Councillor Stephen Craddock, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing said:
“All adults are now eligible for their COVID-19 vaccine so please come forward. The vaccines are two-dose vaccines so you must have both doses for maximum benefit and protection to you, your friends, and your family.
“We are also inviting everyone aged over 18 to bring their second dose appointment forward to eight weeks to ensure everyone has the strongest possible protection as soon as possible.
“Vaccination will also help protect people from long COVID effects and also allow people to fully participate in social events which in the near future may require evidence of being double jabbed.
“My advice to everyone who can, is join the thousands already vaccinated and let’s beat this virus together.”
Notes to editors
You can order a PCR test kit to be sent to your home or book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site. Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Children who are aged under 5 years old who are identified as close contacts would only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household.
- The NHS COVID-19 app will update in August in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.
- Please visit Help the NHS alert your close contacts (NHS) and read the section "how you'll be contacted". You will never be asked for bank account or payment details, passwords or your PIN.