While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. This is why we are keeping in place key protections:

  • testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk

  • isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace

  • border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries and for those people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries

  • cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:

    • while government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer

    • government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport

    • being outside or letting fresh air in

    • minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts

    • encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings

The government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.

Find out how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

NHS Test and Trace:

  • ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus and provides targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
  • helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and, depending on their age and vaccination status, gives them advice on testing and other precautions they can take and/or notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus

We have introduced this service to help return life more to normal, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care. The service allows us to trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections and plays a vital role in giving us early warning if the virus is increasing again, locally or nationally.

How NHS Test and Trace helps fight the virus

NHS Test and Trace helps to control the rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. By playing your part through the actions set out below, you will directly help to contain the virus by reducing its spread.

Playing your part:

  • if you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate and arrange a PCR test
  • you can leave self-isolation to get a test to find out if you have COVID-19, or to take a home test to a priority post box
  • if you test positive for COVID-19, you must continue to self-isolate. You must also share information promptly and accurately with NHS Test and Trace about members of your household and you should also share information about your other recent contacts to help NHS Test and Trace alert them and advise what action they should take to protect their friends, family and local community
  • if you have had close recent contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get a PCR test and must self-isolate if NHS Test and Trace advises you to do so
  • if you are returning from travel abroad it is important to check the testing requirements and whether you need to self-isolate

This specific guidance applies in England only. All 4 administrations are working closely together to have a consistent and joined-up approach to testing and tracing.

Definitions

‘Self-isolation if you have symptoms’ means you should remain at home. Do not go outside your home for any reason – that is to work, school or public areas – and do not use public transport or taxis. Members of your household may also need to self-isolate. The guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection page has more information on self-isolation.

‘Contact’ means a person who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and who may or may not live with them.

‘PCR test’ means polymerase chain reaction test.

‘LFD test’ means lateral flow device antigen test.

It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19 or if you are identified as a contact and told to self-isolate by Test and Trace. Failure to self-isolate for the full time-period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.

Voting and COVID-19

If you have reason to believe you may transmit coronavirus, for example if you have been told to self-isolate or have symptoms, you can apply for an emergency proxy to vote in an election. If your child is self-isolating you should not take them with you.

How NHS Test and Trace works

Part 1: for someone with symptoms of COVID-19

1. Self-isolate: as soon as you experience COVID-19 symptoms, medical advice is clear: you should self-isolate for at least 10 days, unless you get a negative PCR test. Your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month, your self-isolation period ends at 23:59 on the 25th. You may also find this stay at home illustration useful.

Anyone else in your household, unless they are exempt (see ‘Exemptions from self-isolation for contacts’ below), should also self-isolate for 10 days from when you started having symptoms. This includes the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days. Other people in your household can get a test whether or not they have symptoms. Read further guidance on getting a free test.

2. Test: get a free NHS test immediately to check if you have COVID-19 or call 119 if you have no internet access. You can leave self-isolation to get a test at a test site or to take a home test to a priority post box.

3. Results: if you are notified by NHS Test and Trace that your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 10-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 10 days from when you started having symptoms unless they are exempt (see ‘Exemptions from self-isolation for contacts’ below). Failure to self-isolate for the full time period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.

If your test is negative you will no longer be required to self-isolate, though you may wish to do so if you still feel unwell and have symptoms similar to COVID-19. This also applies to any household members who were self-isolating.

4. Share contacts: if you test positive for COVID-19, NHS Test and Trace will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of other people in your household and any other people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited.

It is important that you respond quickly and accurately so that we can give appropriate advice to those who need it. You will be told to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by one of our contract tracers or by your local authority.

Part 2: if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you are not exempt from self-isolation (see ‘Exemptions from self-isolation for contacts’ below)

1. Alert: you will be alerted by NHS Test and Trace if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The alert will usually come by text, email or phone call. You should then log on to the NHS Test and Trace website, which is normally the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other – but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you must do. Under-18s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue

2. Self-isolate: you will be told to self-isolate until 10 full days after your last contact with the person who has tested positive. If, for example, your last contact with them was at any time on the 15th of the month, your self-isolation period ends at 23:59 on the 25th. It’s really important to do this even if you do not feel unwell because you could still be infectious to others. Failure to self-isolate for the full time period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.

Your household does not need to self-isolate with you if you do not have symptoms, but they should take extra care to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.

3. Take a PCR test: you are advised to take a PCR test after being identified as a contact, even if you do not have symptoms. You should also take a PCR test if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 during your self-isolation period. If your test is negative, you must still complete your self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet – this is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

If your test is positive, you and other members of your household, unless they are exempt, must follow the rules in guidance and self-isolate for 10 days. This is in addition to the time you have already spent self-isolating.

You and your household’s self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started, or the day of your test if you did not have symptoms, and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your symptoms started – or, if you did not have symptoms, you took your test – at any time on the 15th of the month, your self-isolation period ends at 23:59 on the 25th.

You may find this stay at home illustration useful.

You are not required to self-isolate if you are notified you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated
  • you are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

You are fully vaccinated 14 days after your final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine that was administered in the United Kingdom. This is to allow for an antibody response to develop. If you were fully vaccinated at the time you had close contact with a positive case, you will not be required to self-isolate.

NHS Test and Trace will contact you to:

  • let you know that you have been identified as a contact
  • check whether you are legally required to self-isolate
  • provide you with advice

Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible. Children aged 4 and under will not be advised to take a test unless the positive case was someone in their own household.

You should not arrange to have a PCR test if you have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19, as it is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection.

Even if you are vaccinated, you can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If you are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 but you are not required to self-isolate, you can help protect others by following the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. In addition to getting a PCR test, you may also consider:

  • limiting close contact with other people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
  • wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and where you are unable to maintain social distancing
  • limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
  • taking part in twice weekly LFD testing

Children and young people aged under 18 years 6 months who usually attend an education or childcare setting and who have been identified as a close contact should continue to attend the setting as normal. They do not need to wear a face covering within the setting, but it is expected and recommended that these are worn when travelling on public or dedicated transport.

Those recently turned 18

Contacts will not be legally required to self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status if they are under 18. If you are 18 years old, the guidance is that you will be treated in the same way as those under 18 up until the age of 18 years and 6 months, to allow you time to become fully vaccinated.

Clinical trials and medical exemptions

If you have taken part, or are currently taking part, in an MHRA-approved clinical COVID-19 vaccine trial, or if you can show evidence that you cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19 for medical reasons, you will not be required to self-isolate if you are a contact of a positive case. You should instead take a PCR test as soon as possible.

You will need to be able to show evidence that you are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination for medical reasons. When we contact you, we will advise on what you need to do.

If you are part-way through a 10-day self-isolation period on 16 August

If you were fully vaccinated on the date that you had contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, you can stop self-isolating on 16 August. You can also stop self-isolating on 16 August if you are a contact and any of the other criteria apply.

If you have been notified by NHS Test and Trace that you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must complete your self-isolation period, regardless of your vaccination status.

If you have been self-isolating because you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should continue to self-isolate unless you receive a negative PCR result.

If you have been self-isolating because a member of your household has symptoms and you were fully vaccinated on the date their symptoms started, you can stop self-isolating on 16 August.

If you are exempt from self-isolation as a contact but develop COVID-19 symptoms

If you have or develop symptoms of COVID-19, even if these are mild, you should arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible, even if you have had a positive PCR result in the last 90 days. You should stay at home until you receive your test result and follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 symptoms.

If you are exempt from self-isolation as a contact but have tested positive for COVID-19

If you are notified by NHS Test and Trace that you have tested positive for COVID-19 you will still need to self-isolate regardless of whether you are exempt from self-isolation as a contact. This is still the law.

When self-isolating, follow the stay-at-home guidance. This will help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other members of your household and community.

Going to work

Please refer to your employer’s advice. If you are exempt from self-isolation, you will usually be able to continue to go to work as normal. However in certain workplaces, such as in health and social care, you may be asked to take additional precautions.

If you are exempt from self-isolation, you are not required to inform your employer that you have been identified by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app as a contact of a positive case, but you may choose to do so. Employers are not expected to check whether you are exempt.

Health and social care workers

If you are a health or social care worker, or a student who is working in this sector as part of your programme of study, who has been identified as a contact and are exempt from self-isolation, there is additional guidance available that you should follow to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in these settings. See COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings.

The NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app, which is available to download for free in England and Wales, is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from COVID-19. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community.

The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. It uses proven technology from Apple and Google, designed to protect every user’s privacy.

Part 1: people who develop symptoms of COVID-19

This section applies if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you have received a positive test result.

When to self-isolate

The medical advice is clear: you must continue to follow the rules on self-isolation if you have COVID-19 symptoms. This also applies if you live in the same household as somebody with symptoms unless you are fully vaccinated or under 18 years and 6 months.

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

For more information, read the further guidance on symptoms.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you must continue to follow the rules in guidance on self-isolating straight away for 10 days – or longer if you still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste – unless you get a negative PCR result. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month, your isolation period ends at 23:59 on the 25th.

If you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms and you are 18 years and 6 months or over and not fully vaccinated, you must also continue to follow the rules in guidance on self-isolating straight away for 10 days, unless the person with symptoms gets a negative PCR result. This includes the day their symptoms started and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your 10-day isolation period starts on the 15th of the month, your isolation period ends at 23:59 on the 25th.

You may find this stay at home illustration useful.

You can now get a test if you do not have symptoms. Read the further guidance on getting a free test.

Failure to self-isolate for the full time-period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.

How to get a test

Anyone with symptoms can get a COVID-19 test, whatever their age.

If you don’t have access to the internet, you can get a test by phoning 119.

You should not arrange to have a PCR test if you have previously received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19, as it is possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection.

Our guidance on testing has more information on our testing programme.

If you test negative

If you get a negative test result, this means you are at low risk of having COVID-19.

Other members of your household can stop self-isolating. If you feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to COVID-19, you can stop self-isolating. You could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until you are better.

If you test positive

If you get a positive test result, this means that when you took the test, you had COVID-19. You – and other members of your household (unless they are exempt – see ‘Exemptions from self-isolation for contacts’ above) – must continue to self-isolate.

Health and care workers

If you work in a health or care setting, you should follow the separate guidance for health and care workers on testing and when to return to work.

Telling people about your test result

If you develop symptoms, you may wish to alert the people with whom you have had close contact over the last 2 days. You should tell them that you might have COVID-19 but are waiting for a test result.

At this stage (until the test result is known), those people do not need to self-isolate, but they should follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.

They should also watch out for their own symptoms.

You may want to write down your recent close contacts now so that you have them to hand if you test positive.

Sharing information about your recent contacts

If you get a positive test, we will contact you and ask you to share information about any close contacts you had just before or after you developed symptoms. This is vital if we are to stop the spread of the virus.

We will contact you by text message, email or phone. If you are under 18 years old, we will contact you by phone wherever possible and ask for your parent or guardian’s permission to continue the call.

You will be sent a link to the NHS Test and Trace website and asked to create a confidential account where you can record details about your recent close contacts. If you do not have internet access or if you don’t complete the online process, one of our contact tracers will phone you to gather this information from you.

The information you give will be handled in strict confidence and will only be kept and used in line with data protection laws. It will help us to contact people who are at risk of having been exposed to COVID-19, explain what they should do to help prevent the further spread of the virus and provide advice.

Some local authorities have their own contact tracing teams who are employed by the local council. NHS Test and Trace may pass your details to these local teams. These teams work with local public health experts and will usually contact you by phone and text. In certain circumstances they may visit you at your home to ask you to make further contact with them or to ask about your contacts.

When we contact people to advise them to get a test or self-isolate (or both), we do not tell them your identity. But if you have alerted them when you first develop symptoms or when you get your test result, they will be better prepared for the advice we give them.

When we contact you

If NHS Test and Trace contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone.

All texts or emails will ask you to sign into one of these 2 NHS portals:

If NHS Test and Trace calls you by phone, the service will be using the phone number 0300 013 5000.

All information you provide to NHS Test and Trace is held in strict confidence and will only be kept and used in line with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Contact tracers will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000. Local contact tracers will contact you from a local council number. If you’re unsure if this is genuine, please contact your local council for advice
  • send you text messages from ‘NHStracing’
  • ask you to sign into either NHS Test and Trace or NHS Test and Trace contact tracing
  • ask for your full name to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support if you are required to self-isolate
  • ask about the COVID-19 symptoms you have been experiencing
  • ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting
  • ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England

Contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
  • provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential COVID-19 symptoms
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

What we will ask you

We will ask you:

  • if you have family members or other household members living with you. Unless they are exempt (see ‘Exemptions from self-isolation for contacts’ above), they must continue to self-isolate for the rest of the 10-day period from when your symptoms began or, if you did not have symptoms, from the date of your test
  • if you have had any close contact with anyone other than members of your household. We are interested in the 2 days before you developed symptoms and the time since you developed symptoms. Close contact means:
    • having face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (this will include times where you have worn a face covering or a face mask)
    • having been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
    • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
  • if you work in – or have recently visited – a setting with other people (for example, a GP surgery, a school or a workplace). The use of face masks and other forms of PPE does not exclude somebody from being considered a close contact, unless they are providing direct care with patients or residents in a health and care setting

We will ask you to provide, where possible, the names and contact details (for example, email address, telephone number) for the people you have had close contact with. As with your own details these will be held in strict confidence and will be kept and used only in line with data protection laws.

If NHS Test and Trace identify you as a contact, you are not exempt from self-isolation and you work in a critical service where the recommendation for you to self-isolate would have impact on providing that critical service, your employer will need to escalate this to the local health protection team (HPT) for a risk-assessment.

How this information is used

Based on the information you provide, we will assess whether we need to alert your contacts and provide them with advice on steps they should take to protect their family, friends and local community.

We may refer the case to local public health experts if your case is complex, for example, if you work in or have recently visited:

  • a health or care setting, such as a hospital or care home
  • a prison or other secure setting
  • a school for people with special needs
  • critical national infrastructure or areas vital for national security
  • when NHS Test and Trace has been unable to contact you after an agreed amount of time and your local authority has set up a system to take over your case

Local public health experts are Public Health England staff and teams employed by your local authority who work together with all parts of the local community to prevent or respond to local outbreaks.

This section applies to those who have been identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact and who are not exempt from self-isolation (see ‘Exemptions from self-isolation for contacts’ above).

If you are told to self-isolate

If we identify you as someone who has had close recent contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are not exempt from self-isolation as a contact, we will notify you that you must self-isolate in line with medical advice and the law.

It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are identified as a contact and told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Failure to self-isolate for the full time-period can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.

You may be feeling well and not have any symptoms, but it is still essential for you to follow the advice that you are given.

This is because, if you have been infected, you could be infectious to others. Some people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms at all and it is therefore crucial to self-isolate to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

You can get a test even if you do not have symptoms. Read the further guidance on getting a free test. If you choose to get a test, you must continue to self-isolate, even if your result is negative. This is because you could still become infectious.

How you will be told to self-isolate

If you are aged 18 or over, we will contact you by text message or email but will follow up by phone if we don’t get a response. If we only have a landline number for you, we will contact you on that number.

If you are under 18 years old, we will contact you by phone wherever possible and ask for consent from your parent or guardian to continue the call.

If you have internet access, we will ask you to log onto the NHS Test and Trace website. This is the simplest way of giving you the information you need and the opportunity to ask any questions. The online service will also ask you to confirm that you are following the advice on self-isolation.

If you do not have internet access, we will arrange for a trained call handler to speak to you by phone to give you the information and advice you need.

What happens next

NHS Test and Trace will check whether you are legally required to self-isolate. If you are, you must self-isolate until 10 full days after you were in contact with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that if, for example, your last contact with them was at any time on the 15th of the month, your isolation period ends at 23:59 on the 25th. This is crucial to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus and failure to do so can result in a fine, starting from £1,000.

Self-isolation means staying at home and not going outside your home at any time. If you live with other people, they do not need to self-isolate, but they should avoid contact with you as far as possible and follow advice on hygiene. If you do not live with other people, you should seek help from others, or delivery services, for essential activities such as food shopping. Self-isolation can be particularly challenging if you are looking after children, or if you care for vulnerable people who cannot stay with friends or family.

If you go on to develop symptoms, anyone you live with, unless they are fully vaccinated or under 18 years and 6 months, must continue to follow the rules in guidance on self-isolation and you should report your symptoms and get tested. You can leave self-isolation to get a test at a test site or to take a home test to a priority post box.

It is crucial that you complete your self-isolation period if you’ve been identified as a contact, even if you get a negative test result. This is because you may have the virus, but it cannot yet be detected by a test, so you could unknowingly spread the virus if you leave the house. Other members of your household, however, do not need to self-isolate.

When we contact you

If NHS Test and Trace contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone.

All texts or emails will ask you to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact-tracing website.

If NHS Test and Trace calls you by phone, the service will be using the phone number 0300 013 5000.

All information you provide to NHS Test and Trace is held in strict confidence and will only be kept and used in line with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Contact tracers will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000
  • send you text messages from ‘NHS’
  • ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support if you are required to self-isolate
  • ask if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms
  • provide advice on what you must do as you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

Contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
  • provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential COVID-19 symptoms
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

Support for people who are self-isolating

We will direct you to your local authority helpline if you are required to self-isolate and need the following support:

  • practical or social support for yourself
  • support for someone you care for
  • financial support

Your local authority can help you access the local support available to you while self-isolating. If you cannot rely on support from family, friends and neighbours, your local authority may be able to help you access food or assist with caring responsibilities, as well as mental health, loneliness and digital support. You can find more information, including the helpline number, on your local authority’s website.

You may also be able to get help from the NHS volunteer responders.

The NHS volunteer responders programme remains active and support can be accessed by calling 0808 196 3646. For more details, visit the NHS volunteer responders programme.

If you’re unable to collect your prescription medication because you’re self-isolating, a free medicines delivery service is available. First, you should ask if any friends, family or volunteers can collect medicines for you. If friends and family are not able to collect your medicines for you, and you or the pharmacy are unable to arrange for a volunteer through the NHS volunteer responders programme, then you will be eligible for free medicines delivery.

Contact your pharmacy to tell them that you’re self-isolating and need your medicines delivered, and they will arrange this free of charge.

Pharmacies will not be able to deliver your medicines unless you provide them with your unique contact tracing reference number.

Employers should support workers who are told to self-isolate and must not ask them to attend work. See the guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers. If you are in employment, speak to your employer to discuss if you can work from home or other options are available during your period of isolation.

Workers in self-isolation are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for every day they are in isolation, as long as they meet the eligibility conditions. Guidance has been produced for employees that are unable to work because they are self-isolating.

NHS Test and Trace will provide evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate. This evidence can be shared with an employer or education provider. Get an isolation note if you need evidence that you’ve been told to self-isolate.

You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate. You should go to your local authority’s website for more information. You will be eligible if you live in England and meet all the following criteria:

  • you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you are receiving at least one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credits
    • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Pension Credit
    • Housing Benefit

If you are not on one of these benefits, you might still be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment from your local authority. See Test and Trace Support Payment scheme: claiming financial support.

NHS QR check-in codes for your venue

The opening up of the economy and public services is reliant on NHS Test and Trace being used to stop the spread of the virus.

To protect your venue or business, you should:

  • display the official NHS QR code poster
  • ask every customer or visitor aged 16 and over to check in to the venue using the NHS QR code or by providing their contact details
  • have a system in place to ensure that customers can still check in if they do not have a smartphone or the NHS COVID-19 app
  • keep a record of all staff working on their premises, their shift times on a given day and their contact details
  • keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested
  • consider the use of the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event
  • adhere to Data Protection legislation
  • read further guidance on how to reduce risk for customers and visitors

The NHS COVID-19 app is the quickest and easiest way to check in to a venue using the NHS QR code poster. Individuals who check in with the NHS QR code poster do not need to provide their contact details as well.

Find out more on how to protect your venue or business by using the NHS COVID-19 app.

Find out more about the requirements around maintaining these records.

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