What are the UK Covid rule changes? Jan update

What are the new UK Covid-19 rule changes—October update

This article was updated by the Great British Mag content team on 19 January 2022.

Due to the Omicron variant, the UK government has started re-implementing measures to keep everyone safe. To make sure you know what you need to do when you are in the UK, we have put together the most important Covid rule changes. 

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Isolating if you have Covid

If you are double vaccinated and you test positive for Covid, then you have to self-isolate for five days in England and Northern Ireland. To stop isolating in England and Northern Ireland you need to take two lateral flow tests, 24 hours apart, on day five and day six of your isolation. If you test positive on day five and six, then you will have to self-isolate until you have had two negative coronavirus tests taken on consecutive days, or for the full ten day period.  

In Scotland you need to isolate for 10 days from the day your symptoms appeared or from when you get a positive result on a PCR test.

In Wales you need to isolate for 7 days from the day your symptoms appeared or from when you get a positive results on a PCR test. 

If you are double vaccinated, and have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for Covid then you do not need to self-isolate as long as you take a lateral flow test every day for seven days and it comes back negative.

If you are not vaccinated, and test positive for Covid or have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for Covid, then you will have to self-isolate for 10 days. 

NHS Covid Passes

From 15th December, the NHS Covid Pass or its equivalents will become mandatory across the UK if you want to go to a nightclub or other venue with large crowds. You will be able to get a Covid Pass with two doses of the vaccine but, with the variant spreading, this is under review and might be updated to include the booster jab. 

Booster Jab

Everyone over 18 years old who has had two vaccinations can have a booster jab. To find out if you qualify and to arrange one visit the NHS website. 

Wearing a mask

Facemasks are mandatory in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales in all public spaces. 

Travelling to work

The Government has asked people to ‘work from home’ where possible.

Guidance on large gatherings

In England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, socialising and gatherings haven’t been banned but the Scottish Government has limited socialising to a maximum of three households.

The government is also recommending that people take lateral flow tests before socialising to slow down the spread of the new variant.

Covid restrictions by region

Questions:EnglandScotlandWales Northern Ireland
Are businesses, public buildings and hospitality venues open? YESYESYESYES
Are nightclubs open? YESYES


Are there limits on the numbers of people attending public events eg football matches?NOPublic events have no limits for outdoor events. For indoor seated events there are limits on 200 people if seated and 100 people if unseated.NONO
Can you socialise freely?YESYESYES YES *But there is a limit of 30 different people mixing in homes 
Do you need to stand 2m away from others not in your household?NONONONO
Do you need to wear a mask in public places? (excluding pubs and restaurants)NO – *From 27 JanuaryYESYESYES
Do you need a vaccine passport to attend a concert or other mass gathering?YESYESYESYES


You may also want to read

How to fill in the UK passenger locator form

What do the UK travel restrictions mean for international students?

How to get the Covid-19 vaccination for free