From 16 August, double jabbed individuals and under 18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
As part of Step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap, double vaccinated people will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, the Health and Social Care Secretary has confirmed today (Tuesday 6 July).
The new rules will come into effect from 16 August, if the Government takes a decision to move into Step 4. To ensure young people can make the most of their education as restrictions continue to ease, the Government also plans to exempt those aged under 18 from self-isolation if they are a close contact.
Introducing this exemption in August will enable even more people to have received both doses of the vaccine, significantly reducing the risk of severe illness and providing the fullest protection possible for people across the country. The NHS COVID-19 app will update in August in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.
Young people and double vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts will continue to be advised to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern. Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status.
Regular testing remains critical to controlling the virus as restrictions ease. Advising double vaccinated contacts and children to take a PCR test with a requirement to self-isolate for those who test positive will reduce the risk of onward transmission. Alongside PCR testing, everyone in England is encouraged to take up the government’s offer of free, twice weekly rapid testing.
As with fully vaccinated adults, children who are close contacts of a positive case will instead be advised to take a PCR test. If the PCR test is positive they will need to self-isolate, as any other positive case.
Robust protective measures are in place across schools, including twice weekly testing to protect students and prevent transmission. NHS Test and trace will continue to provide age appropriate advice for testing in schools in the coming months.
Step 4 announcement
Children who are aged under 5 years old who are identified as close contacts would only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household.
If someone gets their second dose just before, or after, the 16th of August, they’ll need to wait until two weeks after they get the second jab to benefit from these new freedoms so the vaccine has time to build the maximum possible protection.