Skip to main content

We use small files called cookies to help us improve your experience on this website and to provide services like web chat. We also use cookies to measure the effectiveness of public health campaigns and understand how people use the website.

Read our cookies policy to find out more about cookies and how we use them.

Stay safe. Protect each other. Download the COVID Tracker app.

Last updated: 25 September 2020 at 12.30pm

Contact tracing identifies people who were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

It is done to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The people who do this work are 'contact tracers'.

If you test positive

If you test positive for COVID-19 a contact tracer will call you. They will ask for contact details for any of your close contacts

If you test positive and have symptoms. They will ask about people and places you have visited 48 hours before your symptoms started and until you started self isolating.

If you test positive but do not have symptoms they will only ask about people and places you have visited 24 hours before your test took place and until you started self isolating.

They do not ask about people you may have passed by on the street or in a shop. In these situations, there is practically no risk in passing on the virus, especially if you are practicing social distancing.

Contact tracing is confidential. Anyone a contact tracer calls will not know it was you who gave them their contact details.

COVID Tracker app

The contact tracer will also ask if you have been using the COVID Tracker app.

If you have been, they'll ask you to use the upload function to alert your close contacts. You do this using the app. It's your choice if you want to do this.

If you agree, they'll send you a unique upload code by text message. This code unlocks the upload functionality on the app.

Read more about the COVID Tracker app and how it works.

If you are a close contact

If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive you will receive either:

  • a call from a contact tracer
  • an alert on your mobile phone, if you're using the COVID Tracker app

You will have to

A contact tracer will arrange a COVID-19 test for you, even if you do not have symptoms.

If you are an essential healthcare worker, ring your manager and occupational health department. Do not go to work until you have spoken to them.

Read more about close contacts and advice you will need to follow.

Calls from contact tracers

Calls from contact tracers come up as a private number.

You can’t contact a contact tracer directly or return a missed call.

If you don't answer a call from a contact tracer, they will leave a message, if voice mail is working. They will let you know that they have tried to contact you. They will call you a few times, if necessary.

You may need extra help with the call. For example, if English is not your first language or if you are unwell. You can give us the name and number of a person who can take the call on your behalf. If you mention this when you are being tested, we can take their details.

Related topics

Close and casual contacts

Restricted movements

Treat COVID-19 symptoms at home

Travel advice from the Government

Join the Fight Against Coronavirus.

Download the CovidTracker app