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On 22 December 2021, it was announced that people who test positive for COVID-19 would be able to reduce their isolation period from 10 days to 7 days, if they receive negative lateral flow results from tests taken 24 hours apart on days six and seven of their self-isolation period.

This position has now changed with effect from today (17 January 2022). The Government announced last week that people self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period to 5 full days if they test negative on both days 5 and 6 and do not have a temperature. Individuals who are still positive on their lateral flow test must stay in isolation until they have had 2 consecutive negative tests taken on separate days. These rules apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The rules for contacts of positive cases have not changed. Fully vaccinated individuals should take daily rapid lateral flow tests for 7 days but are not legally required to self-isolate. Unvaccinated contacts are legally required to self-isolate for the full 10-day period.

From 11 January 2022, anyone who is asymptomatic but tests positive by lateral flow test is no longer required to confirm this with a PCR test and must isolate from the point that the positive test is received. The isolation rules are as outlined above, and if a negative test is returned on days 5 and 6, they will be able to leave isolation on day 6.

Travel rules under COVID-19

From 09 January 2022, pre-departure COVID tests for fully-vaccinated arrivals in England are no longer required, nor are travellers required to self-isolate upon arrival until they receive a negative PCR result following their ‘day two’ test. These are also no longer mandatory, with the only requirement being that a post-arrival lateral flow test is taken.

Arrivals can still take a PCR test on arrival if they wish to, however, the regulations only require that a lateral flow test is taken, with a PCR being necessary only in cases where a positive lateral flow result is recorded. This is separate to the rules around asymptomatic individuals outlined above, and PCR tests are still required in the case of new arrivals into the country.

Working from home

The Prime Minister confirmed on 04 January 2022 that his recommendation to “work from home if you can” will continue until 26 January 2022, at which point a further review would be carried out.

Temporary extension of self-certification

New regulations have come into effect temporarily extending the period employees can self-certify for from 7 to 28 days.  For further information please click here.



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