Coronavirus: What are the new UK self-isolation rules and why has it increased to 10 days?

Self-isolation has been increased from seven to 10 days for anyone in the UK with coronavirus symptoms or a positive Covid-19 test result, the government has announced.

Experts say the change was made because there is a small chance people who test positive could still be contagious and spreading the disease beyond one week of when symptoms start to appear.

What if I test positive or develop coronavirus symptoms?

People who have coronavirus symptoms or test positive will have to stay in at home for 10 days from when they tested positive for Covid-19 or begin to feel ill.

People who develop symptoms should get a coronavirus test as soon as possible to see if they have the disease.

This must be done in the first five days of having symptoms.

Anyone currently self-isolating who may be nearing the end of their seven days - for example on day six of isolation - will now need to stay inside until they have reached 10 days.

People are advised to get others to bring a food shop to their homes if they are able to or get an online food delivery slot.

You are not allowed to go to work, use public transport or taxis, exercise or have visitors round your home while in self-isolation.

What if I live with someone who tests positive or develops symptoms?

The government says those who live with someone who develops Covid-19 symptoms or tests positive must still self-isolate for 14 days even if have no symptoms.

This is because the virus can lay dormant and a person may be infected but not show symptoms, potentially passing it on to others.

People who test positive for Covid-19 or develop symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days. Credit: PA

Again, you are not supposed to leave your house unless for a medical emergency.

If a person in your bubble develops Covid-19, you must also self-isolate.

What if I’ve been contacted by Test and Trace?

This would likely be because someone who you have been in contact with has developed Covid-19 symptoms or tested positive.

If this happens, you must isolate for 14 days.

This is because you could have the disease and not show symptoms until several days after coming into contact with an infected person.

If I’ve arrived from a country where quarantine is imposed upon arrival in the UK, should I self-isolate for 10 days?

No. Those arriving back from a list of countries deemed not Covid-19 safe must still self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival back in the UK.

This means when arriving back, you should avoid public transport and go straight home.

You should only leave your house in emergencies.

Failure to self-isolate could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

Some countries are exempt and you should check to safe-fly list before you travel.

If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms after 14 days, you are able to leave self-isolation at this point.

Those returning from Spain will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to the UK. Credit: PA

So why has the advice changed for people who develop symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 to self-isolate for 10 days?

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the change was made due to the "low but real possibility of infectiousness" between seven and 10 days after the onset of the illness.

In a statement, the four UK chief medical officers said: “Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with Covid-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset."

The UK is following some other countries who have introduced this measures.

The World Health Organization recommends isolating for 10 days after onset, plus an additional three days once symptoms have subsided.