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How to self-isolate and protect Portsmouth

Our Protect Portsmouth guide to self-isolating will help you know what to do if you need to self-isolate.

You must self-isolate immediately if you have coronavirus symptoms or have tested positive. If you are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus and you are fully vaccinated (at least 14 days have passed since your second dose) or you are under 18 years 6 months old, you are no longer required to self-isolate.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus you are advised to get a PCR test as soon as possible as you may have been infected – even if you have been vaccinated.

However, if you are a close contact of someone who is suspected to have, or has tested positive for the COVID-19 Omicron variant, you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to self-isolate immediately. NHS Test and Trace will inform you what to do. All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate regardless of vaccination status or age.

It’s really important that we all continue to follow coronavirus safety advice to keep ourselves and others safe.

What is self-isolating?

When self-isolating you should not leave the house. That includes shopping for essentials or exercising outside your home or garden.

Self-isolating is hard but it is really important to help prevent others from getting ill. If you don’t self-isolate following a positive coronavirus test, you will be breaking the law and could be fined – even if you do not have symptoms or have been vaccinated.

You can find out more about the latest coronavirus rules for everyone.

When to self-isolate

If you tick one or more of the boxes below, you must stay at home and self-isolate:

  • You have symptoms of the virus
  • You tested positive for the virus
  • You are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus, you are over 18 and you are not fully vaccinated (you have not had both doses or are within 14 days of your second dose)
  • All travellers arriving back to England will be required to take a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival, and self-isolate until they have received a negative PCR test result. Return from travel PCR tests can be purchased from private providers. Free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose.
  • When you arrive in England from a county on the UK Government’s you must quarantine in a managed hotel, and take two COVID-19 tests (day two and day eight of the quarantine period).

Travelling abroad from England

Travelling to England from another country

You can find out more about when to self-isolating and treating symptoms of coronavirus on the NHS website

What you can and can't do when you self-isolate

You can't
  • You can’t pop to the shops or pharmacy
  • You can’t leave the house for exercise or to walk the dog
  • You can’t go to a place of work
  • You can’t catch a bus or train
  • You can’t go out to pick up a takeaway
  • You can’t go to school or drop your children off at school
  • You can’t meet up with other people
You can
  • You can work from home
  • You can exercise in your home or garden
  • You can ask others to deliver food or medicine to your doorstep
  • You may leave your home when self-isolating if you need urgent medical care, or to avoid harm at home – for example if you’re at risk from domestic violence.
  • You can leave the house to get a coronavirus test if you have symptoms but you must go straight there and back. It is best to walk or drive yourself there if you can. Find out more about getting a test.

How to keep others safe at home

If you’re self-isolating it’s really important to do what you can to help protect others at home from coronavirus. Here are a few simple things you can do:

  • Keep shared spaces like the bathroom and kitchen clean using normal household products
  • Regularly clean things people touch the most such as taps, worktops, tables, door handles, light switches and handrails
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • Don’t share towels, including hand towels and tea towels
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and bin tissues quickly
  • Air the house and open windows when you can, coronavirus doesn’t spread as easily in well-ventilated spaces

Limit close contact with others at home as much as possible

Know the symptoms and get tested

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting Gov.UK. The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Find out more about getting tested for coronavirus in Portsmouth.

Be prepared in case you need to self-isolate

As soon as you know you need to self-isolate you must stay at home. Don’t be tempted to nip out to the shops to stock up on food and essentials for the next 10 days.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead and make sure you already have essential items at home. It might be a few days before you can get supplies, from friends, family or local support services. Think about having:

  • Some long-life food supplies, such as tinned food, long-life milk, frozen meals
  • A stock of day-to-day essentials like soap and toothpaste
  • Essential medicines and medical supplies that you rely on or might need if you start to feel unwell. Most pharmacies can deliver medication, so please don’t request more than you need – just make sure you have enough to get you through a few days of needing to stay home
  • Contact details for friends, family and local support services who can help you with supplies while you’re self-isolating
  • It might also be helpful to think about how you will keep yourself entertained and stay comfortable if you’re feeling unwell.

Where to get help

There is help at hand if you’re worried about self-isolating, if you need help getting essentials like food or medicine, or if self-isolating will cause financial difficulty.


A handy guide to self-isolating

Download our handy guide to self-isolating. It’s full of information on when and how to self-isolate, where to go for help and support, and tips on staying healthy and keeping busy. The guide will help you be prepared in case you or someone in your household has to self-isolate and it is good to refer back to if you’re asked to stay at home.

We also have some handy fact sheets with key information from the guide: