Important changes to self-isolation and testing requirements

In her latest COVID update on 5th January, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced important changes – which will take effect from midnight tonight – to requirements for self-isolation and testing. The developments will, it is hoped, alleviate some of the considerable impact and challenges that businesses are presently coping with as a result of current requirements.

From tomorrow, those who have tested positive have the option to end their self-isolation after seven days, providing they do not have a fever and they record two negative lateral flow tests on the sixth and seventh days. The self-isolation requirement for close (including household) contacts of positive cases has also been removed for children, and for adults who have received three vaccine doses. These contacts should take a lateral flow test every day for seven days. Those who receive a positive lateral flow test will no longer be required to book a PCR test if they do not have symptoms.  

The First Minister said: These changes are significant and they are not completely without risk. However at this stage of the pandemic they do strike an appropriate balance between the continued importance of self-isolation in breaking chains of transmission, and reducing the disruption self-isolation causes in the economy and other critical services.”

Ms Sturgeon advised that at least one in 20 people in Scotland now has the virus, advising: “With a variant as infectious as Omicron, the kind of protections that are still possible within our financial resources and without causing greater harm in other ways – while still very important at this stage – won’t control transmission to the same extent as they would have with other variants. Let me be clear this does not, in my view, mean giving up trying to control it at all – the impact of COVID on individual health and on our collective wellbeing is too significant for that. But it does mean seeking ways of doing so that are more proportionate and sustainable and less restrictive.”

Ms Sturgeon confirmed that the existing protections will continue and that current limits for gathering and hospitality remain in place and are likely to do so until 17 January. You can read her full announcement here.