New Covid self-isolation rules: When do they come into effect and who do they apply to?

6 July 2021, 15:07

Fully vaccinated people will not need to isolate after coming into contact with a Covid case
Fully vaccinated people will not need to isolate after coming into contact with a Covid case. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

New rules for self-isolation will be brought in from next month, health secretary Sajid Javid confirmed today.

In England, the number of people who need to shut themselves away and stay indoors after coming into contact with a case will reduce dramatically.

A new wave of infections, in the order of tens of thousands a day, is anticipated as the country moves towards lifting the final set of lockdown rules from July 19.

But on Tuesday, it was confirmed that from August 16, there should be much fewer people required to stay at home for 10 days if they come into contact with a Covid case.

Read more: Close contact self-isolation scrapped for the fully vaccinated - but not until August

Which adults will no longer need to self-isolate?

Mr Javid said anyone who is fully vaccinated will no longer need to self-isolate even if they have been a close contact with a positive case.

Instead, they will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as they can to make sure they haven’t been infected.

If they were to test positive they will still have to self-isolate - as does anyone who is confirmed to have Covid.

"This new approach means we can manage the virus in a way that is proportionate to the pandemic while maintaining the freedoms that are so important to us all," Mr Javid said.

What about adults who have only had one vaccine dose?

The new self-isolation rules only apply to adults who have had two doses of the vaccine – but they also have to wait two weeks after their second jab to be considered fully vaccinated.

Read more: Health Secretary: I'll keep wearing a mask, it's a responsible thing to do

Read more: Sajid Javid: Case numbers could rise far higher than 50,000 after July 19

That accounts for the time needed to allow the vaccine to provide the most amount of protection from coronavirus.

It means anyone still waiting for the second dose, or expecting to get it within days rather than weeks of August 16, will need to count two weeks from the date of their follow-up injection before the new rules apply.

What about people aged under 18?

Vaccines are not being offered to most people aged under 18.

There has been a lot of focus on the impact of Covid and education, with large groups of young people having to be away from the classroom when a pupil in their school bubble tests positive for Covid.

Newly-announced rules today say anyone aged under 18 will no longer need to self-isolate if they have come into contact with a positive case.

They will instead be advised to get tested, depending on their age, and only self-isolate if they test positive for Covid.

What about vaccinated people who go on holiday?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will update MPs later this week on how to "remove the need for fully-vaccinated arrivals to isolate when they return from an amber list country", Mr Javid said.

The travel industry has called for quarantine to end for people who have received two doses, and allowing more to travel to many more countries stuck in the amber list would provide a boost to that sector.