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COVID-19: What happens when you are identified as a close contact

The rules regarding self-isolation changed over the summer and we have produced a flowchart to help you understand what happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19 and you are identified as a close contact.

A reminder:

The following people no longer have to self-isolate if they are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a person with COVID-19:

  • Those aged 18 years and 6 months or under.
  • Those who have been double vaccinated with their second COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks before coming into close contact with the positive case.
  • Those who are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

If you fall into these groups and are identified as a close contact you will not automatically be required to isolate but you are advised take a PCR test at one of our testing centres in Birkenhead, Bebington, Liscard and Heswall to see if you have the virus and help identify any variants of concern.

There are several things you can and should do to protect yourself and others:

  • Limit your contact with clinically extremely vulnerable people, including elderly or sick friends and loved ones.
  • Take part in regular symptom-free (lateral flow) testing – you can order tests, for free, from
  • Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces – as others are encouraged to do by central government already.
  • Practice social distancing – if possible, for the period of time you would have been required to self-isolate.

While these actions are advice only, they could help to massively reduce the spread of the virus to those who are more vulnerable than yourself.

More guidance is available on the Government website: Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person - GOV.UK (

Even if you’re in one of the exempt groups, you will become legally required to self-isolate if you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, with or without symptoms.

Support is available

Anyone who does still need to self-isolate may be eligible for financial support. Further details can be found at

Non-financial support is also available and our local contact tracers will talk to you to identify how our Community Connectors team can help whether that be by getting an emergency shop for you with some much-needed essential items or collecting prescriptions. Help is at hand and although you have to isolate, you are not alone. More information is available at

Please download and print the 'Contact tracing flowchart' (PDF, 481KB)