COVID-19: Latest self-isolation rules in Northern Ireland

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On Monday, The Health Minister of Northern Ireland, Robin Swann, has announced removing all remaining Covid-19 restrictions.

Restrictions such as the requirement of Covid passports in all settings and the wearing of outdoor face masks were transferred from regulations to guidance.

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Moreover, Minister Swann also stated that there are now only a few limitations left in place in those regulations, including requirements to wear outdoor face masks in public areas and for business owners to keep measures in place to limit the spread of the Coronavirus; for the use of Covid certification at nightclubs and large unseated indoor events.

“As of the current situation, and remembering the affirmation that limitations would only be in place as long as they are needed,” he said, I have decided that those remaining measures should no longer be set out in rules.”

Rules for self-isolating

Health Minister Robin Swann has reaffirmed that at this time, changes to the current mechanisms for testing, contact tracing, and isolation in Northern Ireland are not planned.

However, in Northern Ireland, the Health Department confirmed that the self-isolation rules were never law, but they were classified as “very strong guidance”.

Therefore, isolating after receiving a positive coronavirus test is not a legal requirement.

According to guidance, you should self-isolate if:

  • you have symptoms of COVID-19 (you can end isolation after a negative PCR result)
  • you have tested positive for COVID-19
  • if you come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus and
  • you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19

If you have signs of Coronavirus, you should start self-isolating and schedule a PCR test even if it is mild. Isolate yourself until the test results are available.

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If you have tested positive for the COVID-19, you should isolate yourself for at least ten days from the date you took the test or the date your symptoms started, whichever is sooner.

Furthermore, you can end your self-isolation period from day six if you have 2 consecutive negative lateral flow test results taken 24 hours apart, with the first of these taken no earlier than day five and you do not have a high temperature.

You cannot leave isolation if any of your day five or day six tests are positive.

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