What to do if you test positive for Covid and do people around you need to isolate?

As the Omicron Covid variant continues to spread, new restrictions have been introduced which threaten Christmas plans. Brits are encouraged to know exactly what to do if they come into contact with the virus

Here's what you need to know if you test positive
Here’s what you need to know if you test positive

It feels like only yesterday people were frantically looking up coronavirus symptoms and working out if they were going to be able to make it home for Christmas.

A year on Brits could be forgiven for wondering if anything has changed as a wave of the Omicron variant sweeps across the country, throwing Christmas plans into doubt.

So far the situation remains less bleak, with limited restrictions on activities and people free to move around the country as they please.

But one key threat still hangs over the festive period: what happens if you or someone you’ve seen gets Covid?

What do you need to do if you test positive for Covid?

The rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated contacts vary


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If you test positive for coronavirus you will need to self isolate immediately. This means you will need to stay at home for the duration of the self-isolation period.

If you have one of the following three symptoms you will self isolate and take a PCR test. The result of this test will determine whether or not you need to continue isolating or are free to go out again as usual. The three NHS-defined symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You will also need to self isolate if you are contacted by Test and Trace, unless you are exempt, which includes people who have been vaccinated.

If you need to self isolate and do not you could be handed a fine.

If you test positive it is important you tell anyone you’ve seen recently you have contracted the disease so they can take tests.

When in self-isolation, do not leave your house, go on public transport, to work, public places or other people’s homes. Do not take visitors unless they are providing essential care.

Do people around you need to isolate and can children still attend school if you test positive?

The NHS says that you need to self isolate if someone you live with tests positive, which means that if you test positive they will have to self isolate also.

However, there are major exemptions to this rule including vaccinated people. Read on for more details on the circumstances that allow you to skip isolation.

People aged over 18 years and six months who are not fully vaccinated will need to self isolate.

When don’t you need to self-isolate?

As mentioned, fully vaccinated people, meaning they have had two jabs and who were given their second jab at least 14 days ago, are exempt from isolation. However, if they are a contact of someone who has tested positive however these people are strongly recommended to do daily lateral flow tests for a week.

Everyone over the age of five who has been named as a close contact is “strongly advised” to take the tests for a week, or until 10 days pass since they last saw the person who they were listed as a contact of.

Also exempt according to the NHS are:

  • People under 18 years and 6 months old.
  • People taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.
  • People unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

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