Coronavirus (COVID-19): Surveillance and Response - position statement

Sets out how existing planning arrangements, structures and national health protection guidance is being adapted to address the challenges of the next phases of the public health management of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Scotland is entering a critical phase in its response to COVID-19. Through the extraordinary commitment of the people of Scotland we have suppressed the virus to low levels. That means we are seeing the terrible impact reduce day by day and this has allowed us to remove some restrictions and return to a more familiar life.

However, the virus has not gone away. It could return at any time if we do not remain vigilant. For the people of Scotland that vigilance means following public health advice on hygiene and distancing, keeping away from crowded places and wearing a face covering on public transport, in shops and when distancing is not possible.

Scotland's highly effective and experienced public health services are working tirelessly to support this vigilance, not only through Test and Protect, but also through our enhanced systems of Surveillance and Response. This involves national and local resources coming together to track and monitor where the virus is and ensure that we are ready to tackle outbreaks wherever and whenever they occur.

We have already seen how important it is that we identify and deal with outbreaks as early as possible to avoid a resurgence and I want to thank public health teams across Scotland for their efforts.

We will continue to need your help. At times, if there are outbreaks then we may have to reintroduce restrictions, not necessarily everywhere but in specific local areas where transmission causes us concern. We will also make more information available to allow the people of Scotland to track progress in suppressing the virus and to support people to make judgements about travel or activities. We can use that same information to target our actions and minimise the impact of the virus on communities.

This document sets out Scotland's Surveillance and Response approach, based on established expertise and practice. This involves partner organisations across Scotland all focused on doing what's needed to ensure that we continue to push toward elimination of the virus in our communities.

Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister of Scotland



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