If you have been told to self-isolate, you must not return to work or school. This applies even if you receive a negative test result during your isolation period.

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have COVID-19. This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
Self-isolation is different to social distancing and the guidance for people at high risk.

You could be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19. You could also be fined if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive, and you are notified by NHS Test and Trace that you need to self-isolate.
It is also an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.

Self isolation for 10 days

You must start self-isolating for 10 days if:

  • you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • you have had a test and are awaiting your COVID-19 test results
  • you have been told by NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in contact with a person with COVID-19
  • someone you live with or someone in your support bubble has tested positive for COVID-19
  • you are returning from a country that is not on the government’s travel corridor list.

Get tested if you develop symptoms during self-isolation

If during your 10 days self-isolation you start to experience symptoms of COVID-19 you must book a test immediately and start your self isolation period.
If the test comes back negative, you must complete your initial 10 day self isolation period.

The government website has lots more information about self isolation.

Download our guide about when to self isolate

How to self-isolate

You must not leave your home or garden if you have been asked to self isolate. 

  • do not go to work, school or public places.
  • If you are working, you must work from home
  • do not go on public transport or use taxis
  • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
  • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one
When to get a test

You must self-isolate and get a test if you have or develop symptoms of COVID-19, which can be any or all of the below:

  • A new, continuous cough.
  • A high temperature.
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell and/or taste.

The test needs to be done in the first 8 days of having symptoms.

If you receive a positive test, help the NHS to trace your contacts.

Be prepared for self isolation

  • Make plans for food shopping and medicines.
    If you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication ask friends or relatives to help. Consider local suppliers for home delivery.
  • Think about how you can exercise at home or in your garden.
  • Walking your dog.
    You cannot leave your home to walk your dog. You will need to ask others to assist you.
  • If you cannot go out to work and cannot work from home, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer to prove you can’t work. You do not need to contact your GP.
  • Contact the Isle of Wight Coronavirus helpline if you’re self isolating and don’t have a local network of friends, family or neighbours to support you.

Getting support with self isolation

If you test positive for COVID-19 and need to self-isolate you can get information about and apply for financial support on this page. This is part of the government’s Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

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