Levels of compliance were slightly lower among young adults than older age groups.
29 March 2022
The proportion of people who fully self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 has fallen “significantly” since the rules were scrapped in England at the end of February, a new survey suggests.
Some 64% of people questioned said they had followed the full advice for self-isolating, down sharply from 80% in early February when isolation was a legal requirement.
The Government removed all rules for self-isolation in England on February 24, since when adults and children who test positive for coronavirus have been advised to stay home and avoid contact with other people for at least five full days, and to follow this guidance until they have received two negative test results on consecutive days.
The survey was carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between February 28 and March 8.
All respondents had tested positive on either February 22 or 23, so would still have been subject to the previous rules until day one or two of their isolation.
Levels of compliance with self-isolation guidance were slightly lower among 18-34 year-olds (63%) and 35-54 year-olds (62%) than among people aged 55 and over (68%).
They were also lower for males (62%) than females (66%).
Almost all (99%) respondents agreed that it was important to follow self-isolation advice, however.
Tim Gibbs, head of the ONS public services analysis team, said: “Now the legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for coronavirus has been removed in England, our data today reveal more about adherence to these rules.
“Compliance with self-isolation rules was significantly lower than the level reported in February 2022, when self-isolation was a legal requirement.
“Despite this, we are seeing that almost all respondents agreed that it was important to follow self-isolation advice.”
The survey also shows that only 43% of respondents who left their homes during self-isolation or while they had symptoms said they had worn a mask every time they went outside, a steep drop from 66% in early February.
Some 68% of respondents said they would take a Covid-19 test if they had to buy one.
Free coronavirus tests will end for most of the population in England on April 1.