Last reviewed 14 January 2022

From Monday 17 January, people with Covid-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced the move in order to support essential public services and keep supply chains running over the winter.

It said that the decision has been made after careful consideration of modelling from the UK Health Security Agency (HSA).

“It is crucial that people isolating with Covid-19 wait until they have received two negative lateral flow tests on two consecutive days to reduce the chance of still being infectious,” it stressed.

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. If an individual is positive on day 5, then a negative test is required on day 6 and day 7 to release from isolation.

The two negative lateral flow tests must be taken on consecutive days and reported before individuals return to their job or education, if leaving self-isolation earlier than the full 10-day period.

Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 6 are strongly advised to wear face coverings and limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home if they can do so and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with Covid-19.

“Self-isolation may continue in certain circumstances, such as for those who work with vulnerable people,” the DHSC said. “A full list will be published in guidance in due course.”