Instructions for persons under home-based isolation

[Icelandic Polish - Spanish - Lithuanian]


These are guidelines for those diagnosed with COVID-19 either by a rapid antigen test or PCR. COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease. People are thought to be more infectious if symptoms are present. However, those with minimal or no symptoms can also infect others. Infected people are considered most infectious for the first few days of their illness and one or two days before symptoms appear.

People also use rapid tests at home or in the workplace (self-tests) and a positive test result is adequate to diagnose COVID-19. However, for the diagnosis to be registered in our database and in the medical record, it must be confirmed at an approved testing center, by a rapid test or a PCR.

Isolation.  The Chief Epidemiologist recommends that people who are ill self-isolate for at least 5 days after a COVID-19 diagnosis. Those who have more than mild symptoms or temperatures above 38 ° C after 5 days should stay home longer. See information on services for those diagnosed with COVID-19 here.

Special precautions. Individuals with minimal or no symptoms can follow instructions for Special Precautions. . Minimal symptoms means that the person has mild respiratory symptoms and no fever, i.e. temperature below 37.8 °C.

End of isolation. After 5 days it is safe to end isolation and attend work or school if you are asymptomatic or have minimal symptoms (see also about Special Precautions above). In general, an individual should be without symptoms and afebrile for at least 24 hours to be considered asymptomatic. No testing is required to end isolation. If symptoms persist but are mild and improving, you should exercise caution and limit contact with vulnerable individuals for 10 days from diagnosis or the onset of symptoms. Most individuals are not infectious for more than 10 days.



The Chief Epidemiologist recommends that individuals with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection who do not need to be in hospital, self-isolate at home for at least 5 days. Individuals with minimal or no symptoms can follow instructions for Special Precautions.

  • Aerosols, droplet and contact contamination spread the disease. This means that there is risk of spreading the virus when an infected person coughs, sneezes or blows their nose, and a healthy person inhales these aerosols or droplets or they land on their hands and they then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Detailed information on infection pathways and symptoms of COVID-19 can be found on the website of the Directorate of Health and
  • If interaction with others is inevitable, the patient should respect physical distancing wear a facemask if possible and pay close attention to hand hygiene. The mouth and nose should be covered with tissue when coughing or sneezing. The tissue should be discarded in a garbage bag immediately after use and hands cleaned thoroughly.
  • A person in isolation stays at home and has contact with as few people as possible:
    • A person in isolation should not leave the home unless it is necessary, e.g. to seek necessary health care services, after consulting with the relevant parties. Postpone appointments, if possible, such as routine medical or dental check-ups, physiotherapy or specialists visits that are not related to the current illness. Options of remote services could be explored. However, see below regarding walks outside in the neighbourhood.
    • If medical care is required during isolation, due to worsening COVID-19, other acute illness or accident, please notify the hospital/primary care/on-call service/112 of active COVID-19 infection. This facilitates measures to prevent the spread of infection, but should NOT delay or inhibit access to necessary healthcare.

    • A person in isolation should not use public transport or taxis. If necessary health care services are needed, a private car may be used (the person in isolation can drive if able to, or someone else in the household). Otherwise call ambulance assistance at 1700 (+354 544 4113)/112.
    • A person in isolation should not attend school or work with other people. If a medical certificate for a period of illness is needed it should be obtained from a doctor. Employers are asked to be considerate of the need for isolation during illness of an employee.

    • A person in isolation should not attend any gatherings, whether concerning work, family or social life. For example, work meetings or gatherings, union meetings, confirmations, funerals, home-based social gatherings, choir rehearsal, concerts, etc.
    • A person in isolation should not visit fitness centers, swimming pools, theatres, cinemas, shopping malls, or other places where people come together.
    • A person in isolation should not go out for supplies, if possible, i.e. pharmacy, grocery store, post office, banks, etc. In some places home delivery can be arranged. Friends and relative can possibly assist as well. Supplies should be left at the front door.
    • A person in isolation should not stay in shared spaces in apartment buildings, i.e. stairwell, laundry rooms, or shared yards/outdoor areas. If going through such areas it is recommended to use a facemask, respect distancing to others and to avoid touching common surfaces (door handles, handrails, elevator buttons and such)
    • A person in isolation should not welcome guests in the home during isolation.
    • A person in isolation can go out to a private balcony or garden to get fresh air. If there are other people there, the person in isolation should respect distancing.
  • A person in isolation can go for walks outside in the vicinity of their home but should keep a distance from other pedestrians and should not visit places where many gather.
  • Ideally, isolation is on an individual basis. Others can be at the same place if they do not want to leave the home. Those others should limit their contact with the person in isolation, preferably with complete separation so they do not become ill themselves. Complete separation is when there is no contact and no common areas are shared.
    • If a part of the household is in isolation, other members of the same household are asked to adhere to Special Precautions for five days.
    • Ventilation is important. Windows in shared spaces should be kept open, such as kitchen and bathroom.
    • Shared spaces and contact surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly, such as the handle of the refrigerator, light switches and doorknobs.
    • The person in isolation should preferably sleep in a separate room from others, or at least a separate bed. A private bathroom for the infected person is preferable.
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after contact with the person in isolation (see guidelines on hand hygiene and infection prevention on the Directorate of Health´s website).
    • Tissues used by the person in isolation should be disposed of immediately in a garbage bag, which should be discarded in the general trash.
    • Hand sanitizer should be accessible for all members of the household.
    • If the person in isolation requires assistance or care, the same person should preferably provide that care for the duration of illness.
    • Avoid direct contact with secretions (mucus, vomit, stool etc.) of the infected person. Keep single use gloves handy for use if contact with secretions is unavoidable.
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after contact with the patient or his environment.
    • If a patient develops worsening symptoms the primary care service can be contacted at +354 513 1700, or via web chat at or the on-call service Laeknavakt at 1700 (or +354 544 4113).
    • If a person in isolation suddenly becomes severely ill requiring transfer to hospital by ambulance, when calling 112 the suspicion of or confirmed COVID-19 infection should be made clear.
    • Anyone in self-isolation can contact the Red Cross helpline at 1717 (+354 580 1710 for foreign numbers) or online at There you can ask for assistance, get support or information and talk to someone in confidence. The helpline is open 24/7 and is free of charge.


Fyrst birt 04.11.2020
Síðast uppfært 14.03.2022

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