COVID-19: stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging patients to home settings

Advice on appropriate infection prevention and control precautions for stepdown in hospital or discharge to home or residential settings for COVID-19 patients.



This guidance provides advice on appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions for patients recovering or recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19) and who are remaining in hospital, being discharged to their own home, or being discharged to residential care.

There may be further information specific to each country in the United Kingdom, as this guidance was written by Public Health England primarily for an English health professional audience. To see if country specific information is available, please refer to Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales, or Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

Please note that this guidance is of a general nature and that an employer should consider the specific conditions of each individual place of work and comply with all applicable legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Published 9 April 2020
Last updated 1 December 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance for contacts of people identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and on PCR testing.

  2. Updated to reflect the end of the shielding programme.

  3. Added link to stay at home guidance in section covering patients who are discharged home.

  4. Added information on isolation and IPC measures for asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals.

  5. Updated to include information on designated settings and exemption from re-testing.

  6. Changes to self-isolation policy for all admitted patients to 14 days; updated section 3 to include the provision of written instructions for ongoing isolation when discharging patients.

  7. Updated guidance (all sections).

  8. Added clarifications of testing capacity and strategy and re-ordered the page for improved readability.

  9. Clarified text and reordered sections.

  10. First published.