Last reviewed 13 July 2021

The Government has announced that fully-vaccinated people who are identified as close contacts of someone with Covid-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate from 16 August 2021.

Announcing details on the easing of self-isolation measures, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that “double-vaccinated people will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case”.

Under-18s will also be exempt from isolation if they are a close contact so they “can make the most of their education as restrictions continue to ease”.

The new rules will come into effect from 16 August. The DHSC said that introducing the isolation exemption from this date will enable even more people to get both doses of the vaccine before this date. If someone receives their second Covid-19 vaccine dose just before, or after, 16 August they will need to wait until two weeks after they get the second vaccine to benefit from the new freedoms in order to allow the vaccine time to build the maximum possible protection.

The announcement forms part of plans revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that set out the easing of all major Covid-19 restrictions on 19 July, including ending the legal requirement to wear a face covering in any setting and bringing in second Covid-19 vaccine doses at eight weeks for all adults.

In a speech to the House of Commons on 5 July, Health and Social Care Minister Sajid Javid said: “It will no longer be a legal requirement to wear face coverings in any setting, including on public transport although we advise this as a voluntary measure for crowded and enclosed spaces”.

Despite the plan for mandatory mask wearing to end, England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said he would still wear one “particularly at this point when the epidemic is clearly significant and rising”.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has urged the Government to reconsider and implement some of the necessary measures such as “the continued mandatory wearing of face masks in enclosed indoor public settings” until the spread of infection has been brought under control and more of the population are fully vaccinated.

More information on easing rules on self-isolation for fully vaccinated adults in Step Four is available here.

The Health and Social Care Secretary confirmed the move to the next stage of the roadmap on the 19 July, here.