Boris Johnson has said he will not self-isolate after a member of his team tests positive for Covid.
Downing Street said the Prime Minister did not come into close contact with the official on the trip to Scotland, but a source said the couple had been ‘side by side’ on several occasions and also flew in the same small plane between Glasgow. and Aberdeen.
So what are the rules for what to do if you are notified by a contact tracing service after coming in close contact with someone who has tested positive?
According to government guidelines for England, you are advised to stay home and complete a full 10 day isolation as you are at risk of developing Covid yourself. It’s the same in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
According to Public Health England, a contact can be anyone who lives in the same household, has had face-to-face contact within a yard, has been within a yard for a minute or more, or has been within less than 2 meters for more than 15 minutes from someone who has tested positive – either one-off or cumulative over a day.
A close contact can also be a person who has traveled in the same vehicle or plane as an infected person.
The isolation period includes the date of your last contact with them and the next ten full days.
If you have been vaccinated, with one or two doses, you still need to isolate yourself.
However, the rules will change on August 16 to allow fully vaccinated adults and those under 18 in England to avoid isolation. In Wales this will come into effect on August 7 and in Scotland on August 9. Northern Ireland is due to hold further discussions on the issue next week.
Instead, the double prick will be advised to take a PCR test and may stop isolating if the result is negative. In Wales, people will also be advised to have PCR tests on days two and eight.
There are separate guidelines for frontline NHS and social service staff in England. Double-vaccinated staff who have been ordered to self-isolate are allowed to continue working after undergoing negative PCR testing and daily negative lateral flow tests for at least seven days – but only if their absence can be detrimental to patient care.
Fully vaccinated healthcare and social workers in Scotland may also be exempt from self-isolation, but only in ‘extreme circumstances as a last resort’. The exemption is voluntary and depends on a negative PCR test followed by daily negative lateral flow tests for 10 days.
Daily contact tests are also being deployed in England for 16 key areas where self-isolation from close contacts would cause serious disruption to critical services. A similar program is in place in Scotland for these critical industrial sectors.
In Scotland, general self-isolation for schoolchildren will also end on August 9. Students will no longer be required to self-isolate for 10 days when someone in their bubble is positive, as long as they are negative themselves.
If you believe you are a contact but have not been notified by a contact tracing service, you should arrange for a PCR test, even if you do not have any symptoms.