Why self-isolating is important
When you arrive at your final destination in Scotland, it is important that you stay in your accommodation for 14 days. It can take up to 14 days for you to develop coronavirus symptoms after you catch the virus and in this time you can pass it on to others.
Self-isolating will help us keep the R number low and not having more people contracting it just now helps to prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS.
How to self-isolate
You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others. You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the passenger locator form.
This can include:
- your own home
- staying with friends or family
- a hotel or other temporary accommodation
You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care. The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people you are staying with.
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. Further advice on funerals.
- 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 self-isolating 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 14 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
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 14 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 14 days
If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms after 14 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 14 you will still have to complete the full 14 day self-isolation period. If you are symptomatic later then you will need to be in self-isolation for 14 days PLUS the time to recovery. This means that after symptom onset you should remain in isolation for a further 7 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 14 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.