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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Alert Coronavirus / COVID-19

If you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell, do not come to our hospitals. Follow the national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please find information on our services and visiting restrictions in our COVID-19 section.

Patients and visitors must wear a face covering in our hospitals.

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COVID-19 Staff FAQs: Quarantine

Information alert box Last updated: 17 May 2021

This is a fast moving situation and we will try to keep this page as up-to-date as possible.
Please continue to check national guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic.

If your question is not answered below, and you are a member of staff, please speak to your line manager or email covidquestions@ouh.nhs.uk

If your question is about an OUH HR matter that isn't addressed here, please discuss this initially with your line manager who can then raise it with the HR consultant for your Division.

Some links are to documents on the OUH internal staff intranet: if you are a staff member and cannot access the intranet, please email covidquestions@ouh.nhs.uk and we will send you the document you need.

Please remember guidance is likely to change rapidly, so check back to see if you have the most up-to-date version of a document.

Quarantine FAQs

What about quarantine after returning from abroad?

Individuals arriving in the UK are required to complete a 10-day quarantine period unless they are travelling from an exempted country ('travel corridors').

You can now use the 'Test to Release Scheme' (see below) to take a private COVID-19 test to end quarantine early.

There is no exemption to quarantine for health and care professionals travelling from a country that is not covered by the Government's 'travel corridors'.

Government advice is that any travel abroad carries risks, as quarantine regulations may change in the UK or in the visiting country with little or no warning.

If a quarantine period is required, it can be covered by using one or a combination of the following options:

  • taking paid or unpaid leave
  • working from home where possible
  • the temporary reassignment of appropriate work, if possible, to enable working from home if staff are unable to undertake their usual work duties from home
  • making up some or all of the 10 days' leave over a period of time through working additional hours / shifts over normal contracted hours
  • taking previously accrued time off in lieu (TOIL).

There is no 'one size fits all' solution, and managers will consider each situation fairly and equitably, seeking advice from Divisional HR colleagues as required.

More information on quarantine on returning to the UK is available on the Government website:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK

What is the Test to Release scheme?

Since 15 December 2020, it has been possible to take a COVID-19 test with a Government-approved private test provider to see if you can end quarantine early with a negative test result.

This means that you will need to pay for a private COVID-19 test to make use of the Test to Release scheme, as the scheme does not currently apply to COVID-19 tests made available through the NHS.

This test will be a swab/PCR test. Lateral flow devices are not suitable for this purpose.

The test can only be taken five full days after you were in the last location that is not on the travel corridor list.

For many, this will be on completion of five full days of self-isolation.

Tests provided by NHS Test and Trace, or any other NHS service including OUH, will not allow staff to shorten their quarantine.

Fines may apply to any staff using an NHS test result to end their quarantine period early.

This is a voluntary scheme, so staff who do not opt into the scheme will be required to complete the full 10-day quarantine period.

More information about Test to Release is available on the Government website:

Test to Release for International Travel goes live