NHS test and trace service

New guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.

The service will help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS test and trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.
 

How it works

The government is introducing this service to help return life more to normal, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care. The service will allow us to trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections and play a vital role in giving us early warning if the virus is increasing again, locally or nationally.

The NHS test and trace service:

  • Ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus, and also includes targeted asymptomatic testing of NHS and social care staff and care home residents
  • Helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus
     

Guidance for employers and businesses

The government has also produced some test and trace workplace guidance for businesses in England. This explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS Test and Trace programme to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.

This guidance should be used in conjunction with the Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines. By following the BEIS guidance employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

 


Additional information 

NHS test and trace: if you've been in contact with a person who has coronavirus

Test and trace questions and answers