Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and managed isolation (quarantine)

Quarantine rules and information on the process for people entering Scotland.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and managed isolation (quarantine)
Isolate at your accommodation

Isolate at your accommodation

This advice is for people who do not need to enter managed isolation. 

If you have arrived in Scotland from elsewhere in the Common Travel Area (United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands) but have been in a country not on the acute risk list in the 10 days before that, you will be required to self-isolate at home or in your own accommodation.

There are also a small number of exemptions from the requirement to quarantine in managed isolation. Depending on your exemption, you may be required to self-isolate at your home or own accommodation for up to 10 days, whenever you are not participating in the activity your exemption allows for.

All international arrivals must take tests on day 2 and day 8 of their quarantine period. Book covid test kits at the International Arrivals website.

How to isolate at your accommodation

You should self-isolate in one place for the full 10 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others.

If your exemption applies to a specific activity you should immediately return to your accommodation on completion of that activity ie when you have finished work you should return to your accommodation straight away.

You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the Passenger Locator Form.

You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care.

You should not go out to work or school or visit public areas.

You should not go shopping, other than to obtain basic necessities as below. If you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication and/or in order to limit your need to go out for basic necessities, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery.

If you need essential assistance and do not have a network of support to help you, you can contact the national helpline on 0800 111 4000, or via textphone on 0800 111 4114. The helpline is open during office hours Monday to Friday. This number will connect you to the local authority for where you are staying. It will have people who can help provide support or signpost on to other organisations to help you.

You can also visit the Ready Scotland website for further support.

Deaf and Deafblind BSL Users can contact us via ContactSCOTLAND-BSL, the on-line British Sign Language interpreting video relay service.

You can only leave your accommodation in limited circumstances. These include where:

  • you need to travel to leave Scotland, provided that you do so directly
  • you need to seek medical assistance
  • you need access to basic necessities like food and medicines (including for any pets or animals in the household), but please try to first arrange for these to be delivered to you instead to reduce the number of times you need to leave your accommodation
  • you need to access critical public services such as social services and victim support services, but only in exceptional circumstances
  • on compassionate grounds where you need to go to the funeral of someone in your household or a close relative, or where no-one else is attending a friend. Read more advice on funerals.
  • on compassionate grounds for reasons related to the end of a person’s life
  • you need to fulfil a legal obligation such as participate in legal proceedings
  • you need to access public services (including social services or victim services) where access to those services is critical to your wellbeing and cannot be provided at your accommodation
  • there’s an emergency which puts you at risk in your accommodation
  • you are not allowed to change the place where you are quarantining except in very limited circumstances. These include where:
    • a legal obligation requires you to change address, such as if you are a child whose parents live separately, and you need to move between homes as part of a shared custody agreement
    • it is necessary for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 10 days
    • there’s an emergency which puts you at risk in your accommodation

If this happens, you should provide full details of each address where you will self-isolate on the passenger locator form. If, for one of the reasons given in the regulations you cannot remain where you are staying, you must update the form as soon as possible.If you fail to comply with any of these self-isolation measures then you may be fined £480 in Scotland under a fixed penalty notice.

You may be contacted by Public Health Scotland. This will be to check that you understand the self-isolation requirement, to check that you are well, to offer advice and to help you access services if you have become unwell.

Support to help you self-isolate in your own accommodation

If you cannot safely self-isolate for 10 days, you should tell Border Force Officers when you pass through UK border controls. They will provide you with details of a booking service which you can use to obtain accommodation and self-isolate in at your own expense. Staying at home may be difficult, frustrating or lonely, but advice is available to support you on this.

Within your accommodation

It is important to avoid contact with other people in your accommodation in order to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus. The people you are staying with do not need to stay at home, unless they travelled from outside the UK with you.

Avoid contact with them and minimise the time you spend in shared spaces, like kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas.You should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened, separate from other people in your home.

If you can, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If you have to share these facilities, regular cleaning will be required after each person has used them. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.

If you are staying in a hotel or guest house, you must stay away from other people who do not travel with you, so it’s important that you don’t use shared areas such as bars, restaurants, health clubs and sports facilities. Stay 2 metres apart from other people staying there at all times.

Washing your hands and keeping good hygiene

Everyone should wash their hands regularly, but this is particularly important for people who have recently travelled to the UK because you could have contracted coronavirus and not yet developed symptoms. Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissues into a plastic waste bag, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly.

After 10 days

If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms after 10 days, you can stop self-isolating. You will then need to follow the same rules as others who are living in Scotland. 

What to do if you get coronavirus symptoms

If you develop any of the symptoms of COVID-19 while you are in Scotland, you and your household should self-isolate. The symptoms are:

  • new continuous cough
  • fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater)
  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

You can arrange to be tested on the NHS Inform website

If you are symptomatic early in your self-isolation and recover before day 10 you will still have to complete the full 10 day self-isolation period.

If you are symptomatic later then you will need to be in self-isolation for 10 days PLUS the time to recovery. This means that after symptom onset you should remain in isolation for a further 10 days and be symptom free (no fever) for a minimum of 48 hours (whichever is the longer period). These rules are specifically for people travelling into Scotland since Monday 8 June.

Through the Test and Protect programme, a contact tracer will get in touch with you to identify whether you have had close contact with anyone outside your household while you may have been infectious. These people would be contacted by the contact tracer, and asked to isolated for 10 days. More information about Test and Protect.

Some people will have more serious symptoms, including pneumonia or difficulty breathing, which might require admission to hospital. For further information please visit NHS Inform.

First published: 14 Feb 2021 Last updated: 1 Mar 2021 -