Self-isolation exemptions

You’re not required to self-isolate if you live in the same household as someone with coronavirus (COVID-19), or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:

  • you’re fully vaccinated
  • you’re below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • you’ve taken part in, or are currently part of, an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

People who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days.

If you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result, you must self-isolate immediately. Most people will not need to take a PCR test to confirm the result.

You can stop self-isolating at the start of day 6 if you get 2 negative rapid lateral flow test results on days 5 and 6 and do not have a temperature. Tests must be at least 24 hours apart. If either test is positive, wait 24 hours before testing again.

Daily rapid flow testing also applies to the following groups:

  • all children aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, regardless of their vaccination status
  • people who can prove they are unable to be vaccinated for clinical reasons
  • people taking part, or have taken part, in an approved clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Find out more information about daily testing on GOV.UK.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, including children under 5 years old, should immediately self-isolate and get a test as soon as possible. 

How to get tested if you have symptoms

General public

If you have symptoms, or are living with someone with symptoms, you can access a test through the national testing programme.

All appointments must be booked in advance.

Book a test on the NHS website.

You'll be able to choose how to have your test from one of the following, if available:

  • at a drive-through regional testing site, our nearest site is at Curtis Way, Rochester
    • normal opening times: Monday to Sunday from 8am to 6pm
  • at a walk-through testing site at Greenwich University (Jellicoe Building)
    • normal opening times: Monday to Sunday from 8am to 6pm
  • at a mobile testing unit, locations on any given day will appear as part of the online booking service
  • a test kit delivered to your home.

If you have questions about bookings phone the national helpline on 0300 303 2713. 

The NHS Test and Trace team have made us aware of some disruption to COVID-19 testing capacity across England. 

Tests are still available in Medway through the national testing programme. Slots are released when they are available, so please keep trying. Remember only to go to testing stations if you have a confirmed appointment. A number of postal testing kits are also available through the NHS website.

Medway NHS does not have responsibility for the national COVID-19 testing programme. Our local NHS hospitals, GP surgeries and similar healthcare settings are not providing appointments for routine COVID-19 testing to the general public. You will not be able to get a test at hospital unless you are already receiving hospital treatment and it is necessary for your care.

If you have symptoms but are not able to get a test within 5 days of your symptoms developing, remember to protect yourself and your loved ones by staying at home and self-isolating for 10 days, in line with current public health advice.

Care home staff and residents

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have launched a new portal for care homes to arrange COVID-19 testing.

All care home staff and residents are eligible for testing, with priority for those in homes that look after people aged 65 and over.

Social care staff with symptoms can apply for a test using the government's existing testing portal.

Test results

The government aims to provide results within 48 hours of taking a test, but some results may take longer.

You’ll get your results by text, email or phone. The message will advise you about what to do next.

Symptom-free testing

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, anyone who lives or works in Medway can now get a symptom-free test.

You can walk into any of our asymptomatic testing sites or order a home testing kit.

Find out more about symptom-free testing.

NHS Test and Trace

The NHS Test and Trace service aims to help contain and control COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms will be tested and their close contacts will be traced.

Those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 10 days, unless they are exempt, even if they have no symptoms. This is to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

Sharing your details

When you visit our tourist sites or buildings, our staff will ask for your name, email, phone number and postcode.

This is to keep you and others safe. You cannot enter our buildings if you do not give us your details.

Local businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and hair salons may also ask you for your information.

This information will be stored for up to 21 days and will shared with NHS Test and Trace if needed.

This could help contain clusters or outbreaks of COVID-19.

Read more about NHS test and trace: