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National coronavirus information and guidance

(Last updated 23.01.22

17 January 2022 – Changes to the self-isolation period for those who test positive for COVID-19

From Monday 17 January, people who are self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative with a lateral flow device (LFD) test on both day 5 and day 6 and they do not have a temperature. For example, if they test negative on the morning of day 5 and the morning of day 6, they can return to their education or childcare setting immediately on day 6.

The first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. All test results should be reported to NHS Test and Trace.

If the result of either of their tests is positive, they should continue to self-isolate until they get negative results from two LFD tests on consecutive days or until they have completed 10 full days of self-isolation, whichever is earliest.

Anyone who is unable to take LFD tests or anyone who continues to have a temperature will need to complete the full 10 day period of self-isolation. Further, information on self-isolation for those with COVID-19 is available.

15 December - this guidance applies to ENGLAND

14 December - this guidance applies to ENGLAND

Fully vaccinated contacts of someone with COVID-19 should take rapid lateral flow tests every day for 7 days. If you test positive or develop symptoms, you need to self-isolate for 10 days.

13 December - this guidance applies to ENGLAND

You should work from home if you can.

10 December - this guidance applies to ENGLAND

You must wear a face covering in most indoor public places, at large venues and events, and on public transport.

Latest government retesting advice

The following retesting advice has been issued and the previously issued statement by the UKHSA can now be rescinded. Schools should return to relying on PCR testing in their decision making.

  • As soon as anyone becomes symptomatic, they should isolate immediately and arrange to have a PCR test to see if they have COVID-19.  If the result is negative, they can return to school as soon as they feel well.
  • Regular LFD testing of asymptomatic staff and secondary age students should continue. If someone tests positive on LFD, they should isolate and take a PCR test to confirm whether they are positive.  If the result is negative, they can return to school.
  • All close contacts of confirmed cases are advised to take a PCR test. If close contacts are under 18 years 6 months, are fully vaccinated, have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial or not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons they do not need to self-isolate.
  • If someone has recently (within 90 days) had a positive PCR test for COVID-19, they are likely to have developed some immunity. Individuals are exempt from testing by both PCR and LFD within 90 days of a positive PCR test, unless they develop new symptoms, in which case they should isolate and arrange for a PCR test.

From 19/07/21, England has moved to Step 4 of the roadmap. The Prime Minister has emphasised the need to remain cautious as restrictions are lifted.

27.09.21 Updated guidance from the DfE for parents and carers

The DfE have updated their guidance What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges - GOV.UK (  and Out-of-school settings: COVID-19 guidance for parents and carers - GOV.UK ( 

Main messages

From 19 July the government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus. This marks a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic, moving away from stringent restrictions on everyone’s day-to-day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk.

As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education - particularly given that the direct clinical risks to children are extremely low, and every adult has been offered a first vaccine and the opportunity for 2 doses by mid-September.

The key messages from this guidance are:

  • nationally, education and childcare settings are open, and attendance is mandatory (for schools) and strongly encouraged (at childminders, nurseries and colleges)

  • the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has made it clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only

  • continuing to take regular rapid tests will help you to identify infections early and reduce transmission
  • your nursery/school will no longer trace close contacts - close contacts will still be identified via NHS Test and Trace
  • your child does not need to remain in a consistent group (‘bubble’)
  • the government is removing the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet.

Tracing and isolation:

From 19 July, as with positive cases in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case to identify close contacts. This is likely to be a small number of individuals who would be most at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of the close contact. As parents or carers, you may be contacted to help with identifying close contacts.

From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, children will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.

If you suspect your child has coronavirus or has a positive test

Do not send your child to Kindergarten or School if:

You should follow public health advice on when to self-isolate and what to do.