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Check if you have to self-isolate because of coronavirus

This advice applies to England

The law says you have to stay at home and self-isolate if:

  • you or someone you live with tests positive for coronavirus
  • the NHS tell you to self-isolate because someone you’ve been in contact with has coronavirus

If your child has to self-isolate, you can choose if they will stay with you or with a friend or family member.

If you’re entering the UK from abroad

You might have to self-isolate – this is sometimes called ‘quarantine’.

The rules are different if you have to quarantine. You can check if you have to quarantine and what you have to do.

Check how long you must self-isolate for

If you test positive for coronavirus, you have to stay at home until the later date out of:

  • 10 days after your symptoms began
  • 5 days after the test

If you don’t have symptoms or you don’t know when they began, you have to stay at home for 10 days after the test.

If someone you live with tests positive for coronavirus, you have to stay at home for 4 days longer than they have to.

If the NHS tell you to self-isolate because someone you’ve been in contact with has coronavirus, they’ll say when you can stop. You’ll have to stay at home for 14 days after you had contact with that person.

If you break the rules, the police could tell you to go home or fine you £1,000. They can fine you up to £10,000 if you’ve been fined for breaking the rules before.

Check when you’re allowed to leave your home

You can only go out if you need to:

  • get basic things like food, medicine and pet supplies – if you can’t get them delivered
  • get help from a medical professional or a vet – contact them by phone first, if you can
  • use public services like the job centre or social services – contact them by phone first, if you can
  • go to the funeral of a close family member
  • avoid harm – for example if you’re at risk of domestic violence
  • do something the law says you have to – for example jury service
  • move to a new address if you can’t stay in your home

If you can’t work because you have to self-isolate

You might be able to get:

You must tell your employer that you have to self-isolate. If you’re an agency worker, tell your agency. It’s worth telling them in writing so you can prove it later.

The police can give you a £50 fine if you don’t tell your employer or agency. If you already work from home, you don’t have to tell them.

If your employer or agency knows you have to self-isolate but asks you to go to work anyway, tell them it’s against the law for them to ask you. The police can fine them £1,000 – or up to £10,000 if they’ve been fined for breaking the rules before.

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