Article 20 August 2021

Changes to self-isolation rules

You’ll have seen on the news that the self-isolation rules changed this week for people in England and Northern Ireland. Similar changes happened in Scotland on 9 August and Wales on 7 August.

It’s important that everyone is clear on these rules and what is expected of them so you’ll find a simple summary below.


In England, from 16 August, you will not need to self-isolate if you’re identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated (vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, and at least 14 days have passed since you received the recommended doses of that vaccine)
  • you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

NHS Test and Trace will contact people outside of the same household to let them know that they’ve been identified as a contact and check whether they are legally required to self-isolate. If they’re not, they’ll be given advice on testing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.


In Scotland, from 9 August, close contacts can end self-isolation if they have a negative PCR test, do not have symptoms, and one of the following applies:
• you are fully vaccinated
• you are under 18 years and 4 months
• you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons


In Wales, from 7 August, you will not be asked to self-isolate if you:
• have been fully vaccinated; or
• are under 18

Contact tracers will call you, but they won’t ask you to self-isolate if you have no symptoms. You’ll be offered a PCR test and given advice about you can do to reduce risks and stay safe. You don’t need a PCR test to stop self-isolation.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland you don’t need to self-isolate if you:

  • are under 18; or
  • have been fully vaccinated (more than 14 days since you received the second dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine).

You should get a PCR test on day two and day eight of the 10-day period following last contact with the positive person.

If the PCR test is positive, whether or not you have symptoms, you should complete a period of 10 days self-isolation from the day you first had symptoms, or the day the test was taken if there were no symptoms.

When do I still need to self-isolate?

You must still self-isolate, if:
• you have tested positive
• you have symptoms
• you share a household with someone who has symptoms/tests positive and you are not covered by the new exemptions

You will also need to self-isolate if contact tracers tell them you need to, and if you need to quarantine after returning from overseas.

Please do get vaccinated now if you haven’t already as this will help to keep us all safe and well.