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Can I go back to school or work if I test negative for coronavirus?

Staff at a coronavirus testing centre in Leeds
Coronavirus tests have been hit by shortages (Picture: PA)

Coronavirus cases are once again on the rise in the UK amid fears of a second wave, even as people return to work and students return to schools and universities.

Recent days have also seen controversy over a shortage of tests, leading to queues at testing sites and other people unable to book one near to them, and being sent to testing centres up to 100 miles away.

Of course those who test positive, or live with someone who tests positive for the virus, face a period of self-isolation and need to stay off work or school – but what about those who get a negative result?

Here’s what you need to know…

Can I go back to school or work if I test negative for coronavirus?

Once you have had a coronavirus test, you should receive your results in around 72 hours.

If your test result is negative, the NHS website states you can return to work or school provided you meet the following criteria:

  • Everyone you live with has symptoms has also tested negative
  • Everyone in your support bubble who has symptoms tests negative
  • You were told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • You feel well – if you feel unwell you should stay at home until you feel better

If you are suffering from sickness or diarrhoea the NHS advises you should be free of these symptoms for 48 hours before returning to school or work.

If you’re a health or care worker, you should check with your employer before going back to work.

While a negative result generally means you can resume your normal routine, you and anyone you live with should continue to self-isolate after being tested until you receive your test results.

If you were told to self-isolate – either through Test and Trace or if you have arrived in the UK from a country which is not on the exemption list – you should continue to do so for as long as you have been told to, even if you test negative or do not have any symptoms of Covid-19.

MORE: US government will offer Covid-19 vaccine free to all Americans – and they’ll need two shots of it

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