What are the self-isolation rules if you test positive for Covid?

Ipswich's Covid infection rate is the highest in Suffolk

The new Covid rules on self-isolation are being introduced across England today as Covid cases in Suffolk continue to rise - Credit: Danielle Booden

New coronavirus rules regarding self-isolation are being introduced, with those testing positive having to isolate for seven days rather than 10.

The news comes as coronavirus cases in Suffolk and north Essex have continued to rise, according to the latest government figures. 

This comes as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out any additional Covid restrictions before Christmas

The district with the highest number of cases is Ipswich with 971 cases per 100,000 in the last seven days which is up from 517 in the previous week. 

When do I start self-isolating?

Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms should stay at home and start self-isolating. 

You should then arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible and if the test comes back as positive, you must stay at home and self-isolate. 

If you are 18 or over and you are not fully vaccinated and you live in the same house where someone has tested positive for coronavirus, you are legally required to stay at home and self-isolate. 

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However, if you are over the age of 18 and fully vaccinated, and someone within your household has tested positive, you are not legally required to self-isolate. But, you are strongly advised to take a lateral flow test every day for seven days, and self-isolate if any of the these tests are positive. 

What should I do if I test positive for Covid?

The rules on self-isolation have now changed. 

The self-isolation period for fully-vaccinated people who have tested positive for Covid-19 will now only have to self-isolate for 7 days, whereas before it was 10 days. It begins on the day your symptoms started.

However, people will have to produce a negative lateral flow test on day six and day seven of their isolation period. People ending isolation on day seven are advised to limit contact with vulnerable people, not visit crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, and work from home.

What are the symptoms for coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of C are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

What are officials from Suffolk saying?

Suffolk's public leaders are urging people to carry on getting their booster jab to help tackle the Omicron variant. 

Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, has co-signed the letter along with police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore and the five leaders of the district and borough councils.

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks is Chair of the Suffolk Local Outbreak Engagement Board dealing with Covid-19

Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council - Credit: Greg Brown

The letter reads: "As we reach the end of another turbulent and memorable year, we would like to thank you all for your resilience, determination and kindness to others that you have shown in 2021.

"However, the UK now faces a new variant. Omicron cases continue to surge across the county, and we edge towards the new year with unease and uncertainty.

"Once again, we need you all to step-up your efforts to keep cases low in Suffolk. This means we must follow guidance and – most importantly – get your booster vaccination.

"Suffolk has proved time and time again that we have the resolve and grit to get through this – and we must do so again.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore - Credit: Archant

We also urge everyone to get boosted now. Science shows that vaccinations, especially the top-up booster dose, helps protect us from Omicron.

What is the government saying about the new coronavirus rules?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "There is no doubt that Omicron continues to surge with a speed unlike anything we’ve seen before.

“The situation remains extremely difficult but I also recognise that people have been waiting to hear whether their Christmas plans are going to be affected.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covi

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus - Credit: PA

“So what I can say tonight is that naturally we can’t rule out any further measures after Christmas – and we’re going to keep a constant eye on the data, and we’ll do whatever it takes to protect public health.

“But in view of the continuing uncertainty about several things – the severity of Omicron, uncertainty about the hospitalisation rate or the impact of the vaccine rollout or the boosters, we don’t think today that there is enough evidence to justify any tougher measures before Christmas.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said by cutting the isolation period to seven days they are reducing the "disruption from Covid-19 to people’s everyday lives”.

He added: "Following advice from our clinical experts we are reducing the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven if you test negative on a lateral flow test for two days running.

Sajid Javid has been appointed as the new health secretary

Sajid Javid, the health secretary - Credit: PA

“It’s vital people keep playing their part by testing regularly and isolating if they test positive. And I urge you to get boosted now to protect yourself and those around you.”