As of Monday 16 August 2021, individuals who are:
- fully vaccinated;
- below the age of 18 years 6 months;
- taking part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial; or
- not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons,
and are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case are no longer legally required to self-isolate. The change in self-isolation rules coincides with the expiry of the exemption of self-isolation rules for ‘critical workers’ that ran until 16 August.
Close contacts are now advised to take a PCR test “as soon as possible” rather than self-isolating. An individual will not be required to self-isolate whilst they wait for their PCR test results (although they will be legally required to self-isolate if they test positive) - a PCR home test can be ordered online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.
Individuals should not have a PCR test if they have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19. Close contacts are still recommended to take precautions, including wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, limiting contact with other people (including extremely vulnerable), and weekly LFD testing.
To be eligible, double jabbed adults must have received their vaccine dose at least 14 days prior to contact with a positive case. For those individuals whose self-isolation period began before 16 August and was due to end after 16 August 2021, they will be able to leave self-isolation if they meet the requirement of being double jabbed or under 18.
Health and social care staff who are double jabbed will be able to return to work, provided they have a negative PCR test and undertake daily lateral flow tests for 10 days. Individuals working with clinically extremely vulnerable people will need a risk assessment to be carried out by a designated person in the workplace before they return to work.
Interestingly, the guidance states those with medical exemptions, who can evidence that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, will also be exempt from self-isolation rules (we are still awaiting further guidance on what medical exemptions are available).
Sobia Ahmad comments:
“With the government reporting that 75% of adults have now been double jabbed, the change in self-isolation rules will be welcome news for businesses that have been grappling with staffing issues and the disruption caused by the ‘pingdemic’ – the new rules should enable businesses to take a step back towards normality.
Despite this, businesses should continue to be aware of transmission risks, listen to staff and consider what steps are required to protect the business and individuals.
For more information, please contact a member of the team here.
The information on this site about legal matters is provided as a general guide only. Although we try to ensure that all of the information on this site is accurate and up to date, this cannot be guaranteed. The information on this site should not be relied upon or construed as constituting legal advice and Howes Percival LLP disclaims liability in relation to its use. You should seek appropriate legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action.