Latest Coronavirus Guidance
England has moved to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.
From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.
Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who develops 1 of the 3 main COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or they’ve changed) should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test – these rules have not changed.
The new approach reflects similar changes made this time last year in January 2021, when there was also a high prevalence of infection meaning it was highly likely that a positive LFD COVID-19 result was a true positive. This meant confirmatory PCRs were temporarily paused and reintroduced in March 2021 following a reduction in prevalence.
What is self-isolation?
Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19).
This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
It's a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.Information:
Find out about help and financial support while you're self-isolating.
When to self-isolate
Self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) on GOV.UK as soon as possible if you have any of these 3 symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
You should also self-isolate straight away if:
- you've tested positive for COVID-19 – this means you have the virus
- someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – check below if this applies to you)
- you've been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
You may need to quarantine when you arrive in England from abroad. Check the quarantine rules when entering England on GOV.UK
When you do not need to self-isolate
If you live with or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:
- you're fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine
- you're under 18 years and 6 months old
- you're taking part or have taken part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
Even if you do not have symptoms, you're strongly advised to:
- do daily rapid lateral flow tests (1 a day for 7 days), if you’re fully vaccinated, to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 - find out more about daily testing on GOV.UK
- follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19
- consider limiting contact with people who are at higher risk from COVID-19
Tell people you've been in close contact with that you have symptoms
Tell people you've been in close contact with in the past 48 hours that you might have COVID-19.
You should tell them to follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
They do not need to self-isolate unless they're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.
If they get any symptoms of COVID-19, they should self-isolate and get a test as soon as possible.
Guidance for households with symptoms
Updated guidance for parents and carers on the closure of educational settings
The guidance for parents and carers on the closure of educational settings has been updated with additional information on the support available for parents, online educational resources and support for vulnerable children.
The guidance can be found here:
Guidance on supporting young carers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Caring for Vulnerable children and young adults online information resources and support
We realise that during the Coronavirus pandemic, many of you will have worries and concerns for caring for vulnerable children and young adults, there are lots of online resources and organisations that provide support and information;
Carers UK - https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
Mind - https://www.mind.org.uk/
The Samaritans - https://www.samaritans.org/
Wellchild - https://www.wellchild.org.uk/2020/03/11/covid-19-information-for-parents-and-carers/
National Autistic Society- About coronavirus (autism.org.uk)
Mencap - https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/health/coronavirus
Place2Be – https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
Young Minds - https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
Covibook – https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
Amaze - https://amazesussex.org.uk/faqs-about-the-coronavirus-for-parent-carers-of-children-with-send-brighton-hove/
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance:
Where to find the latest information
Updates on COVID-19:
Guidance for educational settings:
Guidance for social or community care and residential settings:
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:
Latest Department for Education information: