Home Coronavirus: News and Advice When to self-isolate and why it is vital to stop the spread of COVID-19
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When to self-isolate and why it is vital to stop the spread of COVID-19

by Comms Team

Knowing when to self-isolate is vital in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. The virus is easily transmitted from person to person and often, people don’t display symptoms so are (unknowingly) spreading the virus to those around them. That’s why it’s vital that if you need to or are told to self isolate, due to either testing positive or being in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you follow the advice.

When to self-isolate

You must self-isolate if:-

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus including a high temperature, a new or continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – start to self-isolate immediately and book a test at uk/coronavirus or call 119.
  • you’ve tested positive for coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive
  • you’re told by NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in close contact with a person with coronavirus (this is within 2m for 15 minutes or more)
How long to self-isolate

If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when you developed symptoms.

You’ll need to self-isolate for 10 days if:

  • someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • you’ve been told by NHS Test and Trace or Public Health that you’ve been in close contact (within 2m for 15 minutes or more) with someone who has coronavirus
  • You arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk – latest update here.
Importance of self-isolation

By self-isolating you are protecting others, including vulnerable members in our communities, from exposure to coronavirus and helping ensure society can continue to function.

Enforcement of self-isolation

People in England who refuse an order to self-isolate could be fined up to £10,000 from 28 September.

The new legal duty requires people to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus, or are traced as a close contact.

New measures also include a one-off £500 support payment for those on lower incomes, and a penalty for employers who punish those told to self-isolate.

Fines will initially start at £1,000 rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders, and for “the most egregious breaches”.

Until now, advice to self-isolate has been guidance only.

What does self-isolation mean?
  • When you are self-isolating you should only leave your home to take a coronavirus test.
  • 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.

Self-isolation FAQs

No, self-isolation means you cannot leave the house for 14 days for any reason other than taking a coronavirus test.
No, you will need to re-arrange your appointment as you need to stay home and self-isolate.
Members of the same household will only be required to self-isolate if your child develops symptoms of coronavirus.
Your child will only be required to book a coronavirus test if they show symptoms of the virus.
If you are on a low-income and are required to self-isolate you could be eligible for a £500 payment. The Test and Trace Support Payment is available to people on certain benefits who are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.  A discretionary payment is also available to people on a low income not in receipt of benefits. You can find more information, including how to apply, on the Knowsley Council website.

Unless the country you are travelling from is on the exempt list you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. You can find the latest list of which countries are included here.

If you are on your own and don’t have any family and friends to support you, call the Knowsley Support and Volunteer Line on 0800 073 0043. They can help to arrange shopping, prescriptions, dog walking or just someone to talk to.

Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:

“Self-isolating is vital because failure to do so could have a devastating effect on people you come into contact with, particularly vulnerable people. We need people to adhere to the rules otherwise we run the risk of the infection spreading in our communities and potentially schools and businesses closing, not to mention the impact it could have on people’s health. Self-isolating may cause inconvenience but it is necessary to protect others. You’re never alone because help will always be available to support you through it.”

Please note: This article was updated on 16 December 2020 to reflect the change in required self-isolation time, from 14 days to 10.