Covid-19 testing remains key as self-isolation rules change

People who test positive for Covid-19 still need to self-isolate for 10 days, but from today (Monday, 16 August) people who have both doses of their coronavirus vaccine, and those aged 18 and under, will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.

Fully vaccinated people and those under 18 who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace are being advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus. People can order a PCR home test online, by calling 119, or going to a test site.

Double jabbed people identified as close contacts are being advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and limiting contact with other people – especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. They will not have to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test. Anyone who is symptomatic and awaiting the result of a PCR test should still self-isolate until the results are received.

Somerset Director of Public Health, Professor Trudi Grant, said: “Thanks to the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine in reducing the risk of transmission and severe illness, it is possible for the self-isolation rules to be relaxed in this way.

“However, despite these changes the pandemic is not over, and the virus is still with us with cases continuing to rise here in Somerset and nationally. Please do what you can to protect yourself and others in Somerset.”

Individuals identified as close contacts of a positive Covid-19 case who are currently self-isolating are now free from the legal duty to do so, so long as they were fully vaccinated at the point of their contact with the positive case.

You are classed as being fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving your second dose of the vaccine. If you’ve not received your vaccine yet it’s not too late. You can check out vaccination sites in Somerset here.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you will still need to self-isolate if you are identified as a close contact of a positive case.

If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 at any time; fever, a new persistent cough or loss of taste or smell, if you are a close contact or not, you must isolate and get a PCR test.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will still need to self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status or age.

The £500 Test and Trace Support Payment is available for people on low incomes who must self-isolate due to Covid-19. To be eligible, applicants must be employed or self-employed, unable to work from home and losing income as a result. For more information visit: Claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme – GOV.UK (

You can keep up to date with the latest Government guidance here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support – GOV.UK (


For more information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email

Notes to editors

  • NHS Test and Trace defines a close contact as either having face-to-face contact with someone at a distance of less than one metre, spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an individual, or travelling in a car or other small vehicle or in close proximity to an individual on an aeroplane.

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