Monday, 5 Dec 2022

Everything you need to know about Omicron self-isolation rules

The government has reintroduced numerous measures in a bid to suppress the highly infectious Omicron variant which health officials have announced is doubling at the rate of less than 2 days.

As part of England’s Plan B measures which include the return to home working and the compulsory wearing of face masks, unvaccinated people who have come into contact with someone with Covid must self-isolate for 10 days.

However, the rules differ slightly those who are double vaccinated – those people don’t have to self isolate, but they must take daily tests for seven days as a cautionary measure.

Struggling to keep up? You’re not alone.

Here’s everything you need to know about the self-isolation rules.

What are the isolation rules?

Official rules state that if you are unvaccinated and contacted by NHS Test and Trace, you must self-isolate for 10 days.

However, when you get the alert, you’ll be prompted to put in your details via the NHS site and you’ll be told what to do next.

For example, if you’re under 18, taking part in a medical trial or fully vaccinated, you won’t need to self isolate, unless you test positive or are displaying symptoms.

If you’re double vaccinated, instead, you’ll need to take daily tests for seven days.

If you have been told to self-isolate, you must start it straight away and get a PCR test as soon as possible – only leave your home to get a test.

Regardless of your vaccination status, if you start to display Covid symptoms, book a PCR test and self isolate until you get a negative result.

How will I know if I’ve been in contact with someone with Covid?

NHS Test and Trace will contact you directly either through email, text or telephone, or notify you on the NHS Covid-19 app.

From there, you’ll be instructed on next steps.

How do I know If I’ve been in contact with someone with the Omicron strain?

In many cases, you won’t know. While the strain can be picked up by a PCR test, only around one third of UK labs have the equipment to run this analysis.

But as this is likely to be the dominant strain in the UK in the coming days, all Covid cases – and contacts – are now being treated the same.

What are the isolation rules?

If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you must do so immediately, following the below rules:

  • Do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
  • Do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • Do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • Do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

If at any point you test positive for Covid-19 during your 7 day testing period, you must isolate for 10 days from the day you tested positive.

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