Still testing positive on your lateral flow after 10 days? Isolation rules explained


Over the Christmas period, the Government overhauled coronavirus self-isolation rules, allowing Britons to reduce their home quarantine from 10 days down to seven if they can produce two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

The UK Health Security Agency, formerly known as Public Health England, has confirmed people can leave isolation after 10 days regardless of their lateral flow test.

People must not leave isolation any sooner than this if they can not produce two negative lateral flow tests.

In the event symptoms remain heavy, then people are advised to stay at home.

However, some symptoms of coronavirus may longer for longer.

A cough or loss of smell or taste may remain for several weeks but are not regarded as heavy symptoms.

The guidance from the UK Health Security Agency states: “You can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if your symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks.

“If you still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice.”

A spokesperson told Metro: “So essentially, if you are still feeling unwell you should stay at home.”

The NHS offers a dedicated coronavirus helpline for people who have queries or concerns about isolation or the virus.

This can be accessed by telephoning 119.

What are the self-isolation rules in England?

People are required to “self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test as soon as possible” if they show symptoms of COVID-19.

The NHS describes these as “a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.”

People should also self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19, or if someone they live with has symptoms or tested positive unless you are fully vaccinated.

People who are fully vaccinated do not need to isolate unless they have symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.

The NHS adds: “Even if you do not have symptoms, you’re strongly advised to do daily rapid lateral flow tests (one a day for 7 days), if you’re fully vaccinated, to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

Self-isolation lasts for 10 days but can be shortened if people produce negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven. 


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