The difference between restricted movements and self-isolation Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The difference between restricted movements and self-isolation

Restricted movements

Restricted movements means avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. It is sometimes referred to as self-quarantine.

You do this to stop other people from getting coronavirus. 

You need to restrict your movements if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus but you are: 

  • a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • returning to the UK from another country


Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. You need to do this if you have symptoms of coronavirus. This is to stop other people from getting it.

You will need to self-isolate:

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus
  • before you get tested for coronavirus
  • while you wait for test results
  • if you have had a positive test result for coronavirus

How to restrict your movements 

If you are well, but you have been in close contact with a case of coronavirus you will need to restrict your movements. You will also need to restrict your movements if you return to the UK from any other country. This is to stop other people from getting coronavirus.

Restricted movements means avoiding contact with other people as much as possible by staying at home or in your hotel.

You can still go outside for walks, runs or cycles on your own. But you should not spend time in close contact with other people.

Other household members do not need to restrict their movements unless they are told to.


Do not go to school, college or work.

Do not use public transport.

Do not go to meetings, social gatherings, group events or crowded places.

Do not have visitors at your home.

Do not go shopping - where possible, order your groceries online or have some family or friends drop them off.

Keep away from older people, anyone with long-term medical conditions and pregnant women.

Do not travel outside or within Ireland.

How to self-isolate

If you develop symptoms you will need to self-isolate and phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test.

You will need to self-isolate if you have coronavirus or have symptoms of coronavirus. This could be before you get tested for coronavirus, while you wait for test results or when a positive result is confirmed.

Most people with coronavirus will only have mild symptoms and will get well within weeks. Even though the symptoms are mild, you can still spread the virus to others.

If you have to self-isolate, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.

Only stop self-isolation when both of these apply to you:

  • you have had no fever for 5 days
  • it has been 14 days since you first developed symptoms


Stay at home, in a room with the window open.

Keep away from others in your home as much as you can.

Check your symptoms - call a doctor if they get worse.

Phone your doctor if you need to - do not visit them.

Cover your coughs and sneezes using a tissue - clean your hands properly afterwards.

Wash your hands properly and often.

Use your own towel - do not share a towel with others.

Clean your room every day with a household cleaner or disinfectant.


Do not go to work, school, religious services or public areas.

Do not share your things.

Do not use public transport or taxis.

Do not invite visitors to your home.

Keep away from older people, anyone with long-term medical conditions and pregnant women.

It's OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food or supplies. Make sure you're not in the same room as them, when they do.

Stay in touch with your GP or doctor

If your symptoms develop or get worse, phone your GP.

If you live with other people and you are self-isolating

Stay in a room with a window you can open.

If you can, use a toilet and bathroom that no one else in the house uses.

If you have to share a bathroom with others, use the bathroom last and then clean it thoroughly.

Do not share any items you’ve used with other people.

These include:

  • dishes
  • drinking glasses
  • cups
  • eating utensils
  • towels
  • bedding