Monitoring and responding to COVID-19

Next steps in tackling the pandemic.

Updated guidance on managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has published.

As restrictions ease, the way Scotland deals with COVID-19 is now shifting from containing the virus nationally through lockdown to monitoring and responding to localised outbreaks wherever and whenever they occur.

COVID-19: Surveillance and Response sets out how existing planning arrangements and guidance will be applied to continue to suppress the virus at a national and local level including the timely and co-ordinated sharing of data between key organisations including local health professionals, local authorities and other local responders.

The publication is accompanied by updated Public Health Scotland guidance on the management of public health incidents to reflect the new COVID-19 legislation.

NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect programme will continue to play a significant role in the ability to monitor the ongoing impact of COVID-19 within communities across Scotland.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“As we move into the next phase on easing lockdown restrictions we know that our response to the pandemic also needs to adapt. Monitoring the virus and taking action to suppress transmission is increasingly important.

“Scotland has a world class public health system and our surveillance and response approach, along with NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect programme and local resilience services, will enable us to respond rapidly and collaboratively to any incident or outbreak at a local, regional and a national level.

“Of course, we all need to continue to play our part to reduce the risk of the virus spreading through physical distancing, good hand and respiratory hygiene and the appropriate use of face coverings.

“Though the transmission of the virus in the community is now at much lower levels, we must still ensure that where clusters of cases develop, we find them and act quickly to prevent further spread.

“The rapid and targeted response to the cluster in Dumfries and Galloway by services at both a local and national level demonstrated that Scotland has a well developed and tested approach to the management of public health outbreaks.

“We must all remain vigilant and our surveillance and response approach will ensure that we are ready to react to what lies ahead.”


COVID-19: Surveillance and Response

The updated Public Health Guidance for the Management of Public Health Incidents sets out the tried and tested processes to investigate and manage local or national health outbreaks and has been updated to reflect COVID-19 legislation and the introduction of Public Health Scotland in April this year.

Test and Protect was rolled out across Scotland on 28 May 2020.

People with any of the following symptoms should book a test at or call 0800 028 2816 if they are unable to access the online service:

  • a high temperature or fever
  • a new continuous cough 
  • a loss of, or change in sense of smell or taste


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