Self-isolation rules after today as Covid restrictions are scrapped in England

Most Covid rules in England have been scrapped today. However, despite the lack of mandatory face masks and social distancing, self-isolating is still a requirement if contacted by Test and Trace

Hundreds of thousands of people are used to seeing messages like this
Hundreds of thousands of people are used to seeing messages like this

The vast majority of remaining Covid restrictions in England are scrapped on July 19 when the country moves to step 4 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown. The mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing rules and restrictions on how many people you can meet are all being consigned to history by ministers.

However, one major rule does remain. Self-isolating.

For some the rules on self-isolating will remain the same for another four weeks, until August 16, but for others they will still be in place after that date.

Developing symptoms

Anyone who develops Covid symptoms (a new continuous cough; a high temperature; a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell) must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test, remaining at home until the result comes through.

If the result is positive the isolation period will be from the day symptoms started (or test day if you did not have symptoms) and the next 10 days.

This is the law, even for those who have had both Covid jabs, and regardless of age.

Pinged by Test and Trace

Anyone who gets told to self-isolate by Test and Trace after coming into contact with someone who has since tested positive for Covid must do so. The app will tell you how long you must shut yourself away.

For now, this remains the law regardless of vaccination status.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will both spend freedom day self-isolating

From August 16, anyone fully vaccinated will not have to self-isolate if contacted this way, so long as their second jab has had at least a fortnight to take effect. Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible.

“As we make this change we will be drawing on the huge capacity we have built for testing and sequencing and advising close contacts who are fully vaccinated to take a PCR test as soon as possible so they can get certainty about their condition,” said Health Secretary Sajid Javid on July 6.

Anyone who has received both Covid vaccines will only have to quarantine if they have tested positive for Covid-19.

“This new approach means that we can manage the virus in a way that is proportionate to the pandemic while maintaining the freedoms that are so important to us all,” he added.

The same rules apply for under 18s who are a contact of a positive case. 18-year-old will be treated the same way as under 18s until four months after they become an adult and can receive their Covid jabs.

Daily tests

A pilot is currently running which involves those pinged by Test and Trace taking tests, instead of isolating, however that is yet to be rolled out to everyone.

There are two versions: one involves people taking one PCR test, and self-isolating for 10 days even if the result is negative, while the other sees participants taking seven daily rapid flow tests and given 24-hour release after each negative test. They also receive two PCR tests.

The Government says participants will be placed into the groups at random.

Jaguar Land Rover, which has its engine manufacturing plant at i54 near Wolverhampton, is part of the scheme. So far bosses have not seen the staff shortages that have hit other firms where employees have had to stay at home.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak also tried to join the random scheme after being contacted by Test and Trace, following Sajid Javid's positive test. However, they quickly backtracked after widespread outcry, and will spend 'freedom day' in isolation.

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