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NHS Test and Trace


The government has introduced a new NHS Test and Trace service. Anyone with Coronavirus symptoms is being asked to be tested, and the close contacts of anyone who tests positive will be traced.

Please see Coronavirus testing for essential workers if you are an essential worker.

The service will help to identify, contain and control the movement of the virus, and help save lives.

If someone tests positive for Coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace service will use dedicated contact tracing staff, online services and local public health experts to identify any close recent contacts the person has had and alert those most at risk of contracting the virus who need to self-isolate.

If you have coronavirus symptoms

If you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a change in your sense of smell or taste, you should:

Step 1 - isolate

As soon as you experience Coronavirus symptoms, you should self-isolate for at least ten days. Anyone else in your household should self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms.

Step 2 - book a test

You should book a Coronavirus test online or call 119 if you have no internet access.

Step 3 - results

If your test is positive you must complete the remainder of your ten day self-isolation. Anyone in your household should also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to isolate.

Step 4 - share contacts

If you test positive for Coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you within 24 hours with instructions of how to share details of people you have been in close, recent contact with and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that appropriate advice can be given to those who need it. You will be asked to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by one of the NHS contact tracers.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus

Step 1 - alert

You will be alerted by the NHS Test and Trace service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus. The alert will come either by text or email and you'll need to log on to the NHS Test and Trace website, which is the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other - but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you need to do. Under 18's will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue.

Step 2 - isolate

You will be asked to begin self-isolation for up to 14 days, depending on when you last came into contact with the person who has tested positive. It's really important to do this even if you don't feel unwell, because it can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to develop. This will be crucial to avoid you unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Your household doesn't need to self-isolate with you, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and washing your hands.

Step 3 - test if needed

If you develop symptoms of Coronavirus, other members of your household should self-isolate at home and you should book a Coronavirus test online or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive you must continue to stay at home for ten days. If your test is negative, you must still complete your 14 day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet.

Guidance for employers and businesses

The following guidance explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS Test and Trace programme to slow the spread of the virus.

Further information

For more information on the NHS Test and Trace service, please read:

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