Charlotte Davies

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COVID-19: Further changes to self-isolation rules

Employment / 21 December 2021

Recent changes in response to the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant meant that all close contacts of suspected or confirmed cases of the Omicron variant were required to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their age or vaccination status (our previous update on this point can be found here).

These changes have now been revoked as a result of the “unsustainable operational demand” they have placed on health protection teams.  Since 14 December 2021, all close contacts, regardless of the variant, are exempt from self-isolation provided they:

—  are fully vaccinated;

—  are under 18 years of age;

—  have taken part or are taking part in a vaccine trial; or

—  are medically unable to receive a vaccination.

Anyone falling within any of those categories who was in a period of self-isolation before 14 December 2021 due to contact with a known or suspected positive Omicron case could end their period of self-isolation at that time.

We understand that Government guidance is being updated to advise (but not require) those who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 (whether Omicron or not) to take daily rapid lateral flow tests for up to seven days.  If the results are negative, they should remain cautious, and will be advised to reduce social contact and to avoid large gatherings and contact with more vulnerable people.  If the results are positive, or if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate and take a PCR test and follow the normal self-isolation rules for a positive PCR test.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email:

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