UK CMOs statement on the self-isolation period

Date published: 11 December 2020

Statement from all four UK Chief Medical Officers on a change to the self-isolation period for all domestic contacts and international arrivals.

This change will apply in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland from 00:01 on Monday 14 December. It already applies in Wales.

Graphic for news update

“Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of COVID as it breaks the chains of transmission.

“After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days. People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days.

“People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic. We urge everyone to self-isolate when appropriate, it will save lives.”

The Northern Ireland Covid-19 Apps -StopCOVID NI app and COVIDCare NI - will be updated to reflect the changes from Monday 14th December. 

Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride

Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty

Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton

Notes to editors: 

  1. On Monday 14 December, the change to the isolation period for contacts will apply to all those who are currently self-isolating including those who commenced self-isolation before Monday
  2. Self-isolation periods will begin on the day after exposure, a test or the start of symptoms.
  3. The Test and Trace service will tell people to self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days from Monday.
  4. The passenger locator form will be updated from Monday.
  5. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email:
  6. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110

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