If your child is a close contact of COVID-19

If your child is a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus), what they need to do depends on:

  • what age they are - under or over 13 years of age
  • the place they were in contact with the person who tested positive (household close contact or non-household close contact)
  • if they have symptoms of COVID-19
  • if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Close contacts aged 3 months to 13 years

What children aged 3 months to 13 years need to do depends on if they are a 'household close contact' or a 'non-household close contact'.

There is different advice for children aged 13 or older

Household close contacts

A household close contact is someone who was in close contact with a person who tested positive in a residential setting. For example, a house, flat or apartment. This includes staying overnight in somebody else's place.

Household close contacts with no symptoms

If your child is aged 3 months to 13 years, does not have symptoms of COVID-19 and is a household close contact they need to:

But they do not have to do either of these if they are fully vaccinated or had a positive test in the last 9 months.

Household close contacts with symptoms

If your child is aged 3 months to 13 years, has symptoms of COVID-19 and is a household close contact they need to:

They need to do both of these even if they are fully vaccinated or had a positive test in the last 9 months.

Non-household close contacts

A non-household close contact is someone who was in close contact with a person who tested positive in a:

  • primary school
  • childcare or early learning service
  • sports activity
  • social event

Contact tracing no longer happens in these settings. But you may become aware that your child was in close contact with a person who tested positive in one of these settings.

Non-household close contacts with no symptoms

If your child was in a non-household setting with a person who tested positive and your child does not have symptoms of COVID-19, they do not need to:

  • restrict their movements (stay at home)
  • get a COVID-19 test

Non-household close contacts with symptoms

If your child was in a non-household setting with someone who tested positive and your child has symptoms of COVID-19, they need to:

They need to do these even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or had a previous positive COVID-19 PCR test.

Follow the advice for children who have symptoms of COVID-19

Read about COVID-19 testing for children

Close contacts aged 13 or older

The advice in this section is for children aged 13 or older - up to the end of secondary school, usually the age of 18.

What they need to do depends on if they are fully vaccinated.

If your child is fully vaccinated

If your child is a close contact aged 13 or older, does not have symptoms and is fully vaccinated, they do not need to:

  • restrict their movements (stay at home)
  • get a COVID-19 test - unless advised to by a public health doctor
What we mean by fully vaccinated against COVID-19

You are fully vaccinated:

  • 7 days after your second Pfizer/BioNTech dose - also known as ‘Comirnaty’
  • 15 days after your second AstraZeneca dose - this vaccine may be called ‘Vaxzevria’ or ‘Covishield’
  • 14 days after your second Moderna dose - also known as ‘Spikevax’
  • 14 days after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ‘Janssen’ - this is a single dose vaccine

If they have symptoms, they need to:

They need to do these even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or had a previous positive COVID-19 PCR test.

Follow the advice for children who have symptoms of COVID-19

If your child is not fully vaccinated

If your child is a close contact aged 13 or older and is not fully vaccinated, they need to:

They need to do these even if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

They can stop restricting their movements (stay at home) when they:

  • have a negative COVID-19 PCR test 10 days after they were last in contact with the person who tested positive
  • do not have any symptoms of COVID-19

Special education and respite care

Close contacts of all ages in special educational needs schools or classes and respite care need to:

They only need 1 test. A contact tracer will phone you and tell you what you and your child need to do.

Babies under the age of 3 months

If you have a baby under the age of 3 months, phone your GP for advice if they are a close contact.

Caring for a child who is isolating

If you are looking after a young child who is isolating, it will be difficult for you to isolate from them.

Read about caring for someone who cannot self-isolate

Last updated: 26 September 2021 at 11.43pm

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