Isolation and Support
24. Testing and tracing will only have an impact on reducing transmission in the community if close contacts of confirmed cases self-isolate. Contact tracing on its own will not be sufficient to disrupt chains of transmission.
25. We will be asking these people to self-isolate, not for their own benefit, but to protect those who could otherwise have come into contact with them. We know that this isolation is going to be challenging and that some people will require support. We recognise this will include those contacts who do not become unwell and who will need to isolate for a period of 14 days to make sure they are not going to get ill and pass the illness on to others. It is possible that people will have to self-isolate more than once – perhaps multiple times – if they are identified as a close contact of a case more than once.
26. We will be asking most people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case to remain at home completely during this time, isolating themselves as far as possible from other household members. For example, anyone in isolation should not be undertaking outdoor exercise or shopping trips. If they then develop symptoms, any close contacts, such as household members, would then be asked to self-isolate.
27. For some people, this may mean that they need to be provided with somewhere to isolate away from the rest of their household. Others will need practical support with food and medicine, whilst ensuring their physical and mental health needs are met. Work is underway to develop plans for providing the support that is needed to enable people to isolate effectively. We will also discuss with the UK Government steps to ensure that between individual employment rights and the social security system, people are able to secure any necessary financial support if self-isolating as a result of contact tracing.