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COVID Testing & Self Isolation

COVID-19 has not gone away and is likely to remain with us globally.

Even though restrictions have been lifted, you should do all you can to keep yourself and others safe.

Help us to continue to disrupt the transmission of the virus by:

  • self-isolating when you feel unwell
  • wearing masks in crowded places
  • keeping up to date with your vaccinations

Continuing with protective behaviours is important and will help to minimise exposure to and spread of COVID-19, as well as other respiratory infections and other diseases

From 1 April 2022, testing for COVID-19 will change. People can no longer order lateral flow tests (LFTs) unless they have symptoms of COVID-19. All PCR testing sites for the general public will close.


Who can get a COVID-19 lateral flow test

You can now only get tested for coronavirus if any of the following apply:

  • you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • your GP or healthcare professional asks you to take a test
  • you have COVID-19 and want to check if your test result is still positive after day 5
  • a doctor or specialist has said you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments
  • you are going to visit someone eligible for new COVID-19 treatments
  • Children under 5 do not need to get tested unless advised by a doctor or if parents feel that this is in the best interest of the child.

Order lateral flow tests

You can order tests online (on GOV.UK) or call 119 between 7am and 11pm (calls are free).

Your test pack will usually arrive within 3 days. It might take longer during busy periods or holidays. If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate and take a lateral flow test (LFT).  Continue to self-isolate until you get your LFT test result.

If you have a negative LFT test you can leave self-isolation immediately.



What to do if you test positive for COVID-19


Stay at home and avoid contact with other people

  • Work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home, talk to your employer about your options.
  • If you've been asked to attend a medical or dental appointment in person, let them know about your positive test result.
  • You should let everyone in your household know about your positive COVID-19 test result. COVID-19 is infectious for up to 2 days before you begin to feel unwell, or the date of your test. Therefore, you should tell anyone you had close contact with during this time. This means they can be aware of signs or symptoms. You may wish to ask friends, family or neighbours to get food and other essentials for you.

Many people with COVID-19 will no longer be infectious after 5 days. You should therefore avoid contact with other people for at least 5 days after the day you took your test, or from the day your symptoms started (whichever was earlier).

Some people may be infectious for up to 10 days from the start of their infection. You should therefore try and avoid meeting anyone who is at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell for 10 days after you took you test or started to have symptoms. 

If you are concerned about your symptoms, they are worsening, or you can no longer manage at home, seek medical advice by contacting your GP or NHS 111. In an emergency dial 999.


If you have to leave your home when you’re unwell

If you have to leave your home, try to do this as safely as possible. The following actions will reduce the chance of passing on your infection to others:

  • consider wearing a well fitted face mask
  • avoid crowded places such as public transport, large social gatherings, or anywhere that is enclosed or poorly ventilated
  • do not go to places where you know there will be people who are at higher risk from COVID-19 such as hospitals and care homes
  • take any exercise outdoors in places where you will not have close contact with other people
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose and before you eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your face


How to reduce the spread of respiratory infection including COVID-19 in your household

People who live in the same household as someone with a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, are at the highest risk of becoming infected. This is because they are most likely to have prolonged close contact. People who stayed overnight in the household of someone with COVID-19 while they were infectious are also at high risk.

If you have an infection, there are things you can do to help prevent it spreading to others in your household:

  • keep your distance from people
  • ventilate rooms you are in by opening windows and leaving them open for at least 10 minutes after you have left the room
  • wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • regularly clean frequently touched surfaces, like door handles and remote controls, and shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • consider wearing a well fitted face mask. This is particularly important if you live with someone with chronic health conditions or with a weakened immune system.
  • Tell anyone that does need to come into your home that you've tested positive or that you have symptoms of a respiratory infections, so they can protect themselves. They can do this by wearing a face mask, keeping their distance if they can, and washing their hands regularly.



Employment and staying at home

Businesses, employers and event organisers should consider the risks associated with COVID-19 in the same way as they do for all other communicable diseases (for example flu and norovirus). They are no longer legally required to conduct a specific coronavirus risk assessment.

We advise all businesses, employers and event organisers to continue to implement effective public health control measures. These will help protect workers, contractors, visitors and customers from exposure to and spread of coronavirus. The most effective way of preventing the spread of any communicable disease in any premises is to prevent the virus being present in the first place. 

Staff should stay at home if they are showing symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19 or do not feel well enough to go to work. They should not return to work for up to five days if they test positive for COVID-19, in order to prevent the virus spreading to others.

Employers should consider what action they should take if a staff member is displaying any symptoms of a communicable disease (such as flu, coronavirus or norovirus) or have tested positive for coronavirus. What is reasonable will depend on a number of factors, including whether it is feasible for the work to be carried out from home (also see the public health advice above on working from home).

Wherever possible, Welsh Government would encourage employers to discuss and agree any changes to absence management with the workforce and with trade unions prior to any changes being implemented. 

Financial support if you cannot work

You should tell your employer if you’re unwell and have symptoms of a respiratory infection such as COVID-19 and do not feel well enough to go to work. You may be covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay from the 4th day of your sickness absence.

Find out more about Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) on




Leaving self-isolation

To reduce the chance of passing COVID-19 on to others, after leaving self-isolation after 5 full days and 2 negative LFTs you should:

  • try and minimise contact with others and avoid crowded settings particularly indoor settings
  • if you are visiting vulnerable people in places such as care homes or hospitals, you should follow the relevant visitor guidance
  • work from home if you are not already doing so and are practically able to
  • pay extra attention to hand washing and wearing a face covering

There is additional guidance for those working in health and social care and special educational provision.


More information regarding testing for close contacts of COVID, and guidance for children under 5 can be found here on the website.