COVID-19 infection is confirmed by a PCR test.
If you have a positive PCR test, you should stay at home as much as possible to stop the virus spreading.
Although many people will no longer be infectious after 5 days, some people may be infectious for up to 10 days from the start of their infection. You should avoid meeting people at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19 for 10 days after the day you took your test.
You should also let your
close contacts know that you have had a positive test. They should watch out for symptoms and avoid contact with vulnerable people for at least 10 days after contact with you. A negative lateral flow test can give them extra reassurance that they are not infectious.
When to leave isolation
After a positive PCR test, you should plan to isolate for a minimum of 5 days after your positive test.
After 5 days and once you have been symptom free for 48 hours, this is a good sign that you're no longer infectious and can go back to your daily routine.
A negative lateral flow test can give you extra reassurance that you're no longer infectious.
Some employers or job roles may have different requirements on when you can return to your workplace after a COVID-19 infection. You should check requirements with your employer.
There are specific requirements for people working in Safe Places, see health and social care providers COVID guidance (Safe Places).
If you have a positive test and don't have access to help and support through family or friends, you can call the coronavirus helpline who will be able to support you through the Connect Me service.
If you are unable to work because you are unwell and isolating after a positive test, you may be able to claim
Short Term Incapacity Benefit.