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Explains how the contact tracing system works if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

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First published:
15 June 2020
Last updated:


A close contact is anyone that has been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.

This could be someone you live with or someone else. You will have been identified as having been in close proximity to them, including:

  • someone you have had face to face contact with at a distance of less than 1 metre, had skin-to-skin physical contact with, or that has coughed on you, or you had other forms of contact with them within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer
  • someone that you have spent more than 15 minutes within two metres of them
  • someone that you have travelled in a car or other small vehicle with, or someone you have been in close proximity to on public transport

How and why you might be contacted

A contact tracer will only contact you if it’s been confirmed that you’ve been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus. This means you would be at increased risk of catching the disease and passing it on to others. If you miss their call, they’ll call you back the following day.

Calls will usually come from this number: 029 2196 1133.

For children under 16 the contact tracer can speak to either of the following:

  • an adult on behalf of the child
  • the child if their parent or guardian has consented

They’ll tell you that you must self-isolate for 10 days to make sure that you do not spread the virus. 

They will tell you that you can book a PCR test online. This should be done at the start of your self-isolation period, and again on day 8. If the tests are negative, you will still need to self-isolate for the full 10 day period. It’s really important to do this even if you don’t have symptoms. If you’ve been infected, it can take time for symptoms to develop or to become infectious to others.

There are some emergency reasons when you can leave self-isolation, including seeking medical help, where urgent or advised by a medical professional.

Your family are not required to self-isolate if you’re a contact of a positive case outside your household. They should try to avoid contact with you whilst you are self-isolating at home. 

The NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service will support you through the process, particularly if you’re vulnerable or if you have concerns about self-isolation.

During your self-isolation period, you will get checks from the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service looking out for your health and the health of others. They’ll include advice on how to check if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

You can choose to have calls or text messages, which calls will usually be from this number: 02921 961133 and texts sent from 07984 404908 and include a title message NHSWALESTTP (English) or GIGCYMRUPOD (Welsh) depending on the language you’ve selected.

You’ll need to begin a new period of 10 days self-isolation from the day you took the test if the first or second tests are positive. Day 1 will be the day immediately following the day you took your test. They'll tell you not to take another test if any return a positive result.

If you are identified as a close contact and are exempt from self-isolation

From 7 August you will not be asked to self-isolate if you have been fully vaccinated or are under 18. If you're self-isolating as a contact and meet these criteria, you can stop self-isolating on 7 August. 

You are considered to be fully vaccinated, if it has been at least two weeks (14 days) since you completed a full course of an approved vaccine.

You will still receive a call from contact tracers, but they will not tell you to self-isolate. They will offer you a PCR test and provide you with advice and guidance about what can be done to minimise any risks and stay safe. For example by remaining vigilant for new symptoms, and avoiding contact with vulnerable family and friends in the short-term (e.g. elderly relatives or those who are higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection). You will be strongly advised against any hospital and care home visits for 10 days.

There may be certain circumstances where fully vaccinated and under 18s contacts may still be asked to self-isolate by the Test, Trace, Protect service.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you will be advised to self-isolate and arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible, even if you've been fully vaccinated or are under 18.

If your test result is negative you don't have COVID-19 and you could leave self-isolation when you're well enough to do so.

If you test positive you must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started (or if you don’t know, from the day you took your test), to make sure that you don’t spread the virus.

If you have contact with a positive case and you had your full course of the vaccine less than 14 days ago

You will need to self-isolate if you had contact with a positive case and you had your full course of the vaccine less than 14 days ago.

This is because it takes 14 days after a full course of the vaccination for the protections it provides to work.

Contact tracing: children and young people under age 18

If you’re under 18 you will not be required to self-isolate if you’re identified as a contact, but contact tracers will still call you to provide advice.

If you are aged 16 or 17, contact tracers will call you directly. If you are under 16 they will speak to your parent, guardian or other responsible adult about self-isolation. 

If you are under 18 and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, you are advised to self-isolate and arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible. You are not exempt from self-isolation in this circumstance.

There are some instances where children might be asked to self-isolate and a parent, guardian or responsible adult should ensure the young person follows the rules. Support for those (or parents or guardians of those) self-isolating is available.