It is now the law to self-isolate if you, a member of your household or bubble test positive for Covid-19, after international travel or if you are told to via the NHS Test and Trace App.
If you test positive for Covid-19, it is also an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.
You must self-isolate even if you have received one or two doses of any Covid vaccine. This is because you could still spread the virus to others even if you yourself aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
How long you need to self-isolate depends if you've tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have been in close contact with someone who has.
If you’ve tested positive
If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.
If you get symptoms while you're self-isolating, the 10 days restarts from the day after your symptoms started.
If someone you live with has tested positive
If someone you live with tests positive, your self-isolation period includes the day their symptoms started (or the day they had the test, if they do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.
If someone in your support bubble has tested positive
Self-isolate immediately if someone in your support bubble has tested positive and either:
- you've been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before their symptoms started
- you've been in close contact with them since they had the test or during the 48 hours before their test (if they have not had symptoms)
Your self-isolation period includes the day you were last in contact with the person and the next 10 full days.
If you’ve been told to self-isolate by Test and Trace
Self-isolate immediately if either:
- you get a text, email or call from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate
- you get an alert from the NHS COVID-19 app telling you to self-isolate
Your self-isolation period includes the day you were last in contact with the person who tested positive for coronavirus and the next 10 full days.
Full guidance is available on the NHS website [external link].
If you are working, on a low-income and are required to self-isolate, you could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support payment.
Apply for the Test and Trace support payment here on our website.
Who is eligible?
Darlington residents who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate will be entitled to a Self-Isolation Payment providing they satisfy all of the following requirements:
- they comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate
- have been told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020
- have an 8 digit NHS Test and Trace reference number
- are employed or self-employed
- are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
- are in receipt of one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
For full details on if eligibility, click here on our website.
Who is not eligible?
You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:
- are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period)
- continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
- can work from home during a period of self-isolation
- have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate
What if I don't meet the criteria?
Applicants who do not receive any of the qualifying benefits outlined above but do meet all of the other criteria may be considered for a Discretionary Payment provided they:
- are not able to work due to self-isolation or having a child who is self-isolating
- are on a low income and
- would sustain financial hardship as a result
Applications for a Discretionary Support payment are identified automatically from the main Test and Trace Support payment application form. A separate application is not required but if you do qualify for a Discretionary Support payment you will need to provide:
- details of your income and expenditure
- details of any savings or capital
- details of any financial hardship caused by being told to self isolate
For the purposes of this particular scheme we consider financial hardship to be where the customer cannot meet the cost of essential household bills because of losing income as a result of isolation and has insufficient savings to cover the shortfall.
Essential Household Bills include:
- Council Tax
- expenses to or for work
Please refer to the Test and Trace Support Scheme Policy [external link] for more information.
You may also be considered for alternative welfare support schemes and referred to other support and welfare services available. This may include, but is not limited to, food bank organisations, CAB, Tees Credit Union (not for profit community bank) and the Department of Work & Pensions DWP.
All payments will subject to taxation but not National Insurance contributions.
You may be eligible to get support with your utility bills if you are shielding or self-isolating.
Please contact your energy supplier for more information or visit the ofgem website [external link] to check your eligibility
If you are having to shield you may be looking for support with food, deliveries and finances.
Our downloadable coronavirus contact sheet [pdf document] includes a list of local groups and organisations who are there to provide you with support to make sure you stay well while you are shielding.