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Coronavirus tests and self-isolating

Anyone can catch coronavirus and anyone can spread it. We all have a crucial part to play in keeping the number of new infections down and protecting our loved ones. Please continue to get tested regularly to stop transmission of the virus.

If you have symptoms

Get a free NHS test and stay at home if you have any of these symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

Regular tests if you don't have symptoms

Anyone can get regular rapid lateral flow tests without having symptoms.

About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

There are several ways for people who live and work in Merton to get a rapid lateral flow test. Please choose the one that works best for you.

If testing at home, you will need to register the results online or by calling 119.

When to self-isolate

From Monday 16 August 2021, people who have received both doses of their COVID vaccination or aged under 18, and who are not displaying any symptoms, are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.

Double vaccinated individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace are advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.

Double vaccinated persons identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, and are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. They will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.

Double vaccinated adults will no longer be required to self-isolate, as long as they received their final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine in the UK vaccination programme at least 14 days prior to contact with a positive case.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onwards chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and remain in isolation until the result comes back.

The following groups of people identified as close contacts are no longer required to self-isolate. If their self-isolation period began before 16 August and was due to end after 16 August, they will be able to leave self-isolation on 16 August:

  • Double vaccinated adults: those who received their final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine in the UK vaccination programme, at least 14 days prior to contact with a positive case
  • Children and young people: those under the age of 18 years. Those turning 18 will be treated in the same way as children until the age of 18 years and 6 months, to allow them time to get vaccinated.
  • Clinical trial participants: those who have taken part in – or are currently taking part in – an MHRA approved Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial. Those who received their final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine in the UK vaccination programme, at least 14 days prior to contact with a positive case.
  • Medical exemptions: those who can evidence that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
  • As with double vaccinated adults, children under 5 who are close contacts of a positive case will instead be advised to take a PCR test. If the PCR test is positive they will need to self-isolate, as any other positive case.

Children who are aged under 5 years old who are identified as close contacts would only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household.

Health and care workers

Most double vaccinated health and social care staff who are close contacts of cases are able to routinely return to work, provided they have had a negative PCR test. Daily LFD tests will need to be taken for 10 days as a precaution.

Staff working with clinically extremely vulnerable patients or service users will need a risk assessment to be carried out by a designated person in the workplace before they return to work.

More information

For more information see:

When self-isolating, do not go to work, school or any other public spaces. Any exercise should be taken within your home, and you should ask friends or family to buy food or other essentials.

Get help if you're self-isolating

You may be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

More help for Merton residents who are self-isolating

Surge testing

Enhanced coronavirus testing in the Figges Marsh and Wyvern Industrial Estate areas has now finished.