From today (24 February 2022), people who test positive for COVID-19 in England will no longer be bound by law to self-isolate and contact tracing will end following the announcement of the government’s Living with COVID-19 plan.
NHS England and NHS Improvement has issued a letter to the system outlining that any healthcare staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, should not attend work until they have had two negative lateral flow test results taken 24 hours apart. The first test should not be taken before day five after their initial positive test. These tests need to be 24 hours apart, and providing they are medically fit, they can return to work on the morning of day six providing they tested negative 24 hours earlier.
Although there is no longer a legal requirement for people with COVID-19 to self-isolate, the public health advice for people with any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Due to the higher risk nature of health and social care settings, the advice for staff members working in these settings has not changed.
The requirement for staff, patients, and visitors to wear a mask or face covering in healthcare settings will continue.
- COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings guidance on the gov.uk website.
- Read the government's Living with COVID-19 plan.