Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect

Published: 18 Feb 2021
Last updated: 9 Sep 2021 - see all updates

Information and support for people who are asked to self-isolate because of COVID-19, including the Self-Isolation Support Grant (£500).

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect
Summary

Summary

Test and Protect, Scotland’s approach to implementing the 'test, trace, isolate, support strategy', is a public health measure designed to break chains of transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

As part of this you will be asked to self-isolate at home for 10 days if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you have tested positive for it. 

If you are a partially or non-vaccinated adult who is identified as a close contact, you will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days, whether or not you have symptoms. This is because they can take that long to develop and you can pass the virus on even if you don't have symptoms yet. If you develop symptoms, you should request a test.

If you are a fully vaccinated adult who is identified as a close contact, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible. Provided you return a negative PCR test result and remain asymptomatic, you may end self-isolation as a close contact.

If you are younger than 18 years and 4 months and identified as a close contact, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible. Provided you return a negative PCR test result and remain asymptomatic, you may end self-isolation as a close contact. However, children under 5 years will be encouraged but not required to take a PCR test. Eighteen years and 4 months is the age specified to allow 4 months for individuals who turn 18 time to get fully vaccinated.

We have published an information sheet for self-isolation and contact tracing in schools and registered childcare settings covering changes since 9 August. Whole classes or groupings of pupils, where the nature of contact presents a low risk of transmission, will no longer be contacted individually or required to self-isolate; they will receive a warn and inform letter. This also applies to other settings and situations such as holiday clubs, youth groups (e.g. cubs, brownies, guides, scouts), sports clubs etc.

If you are medically unable to be vaccinated and identified as a close contact, you should get a PCR test as soon as possible. Provided you return a negative PCR test result and remain asymptomatic, you may end self-isolation as a close contact.

If you return a positive test result, you will still need to isolate for 10 days.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are new: 

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

Anyone with the symptoms of COVID-19 should go online to www.nhsinform.scot to book a test. If you cannot get online please call 0800 028 2816. You should self-isolate at home straight away along with other members of your household.

How to self-isolate

Self-isolation means you should remain at home and should not go to work, school, public areas or use public transport. You should not go out to buy food or other essentials. You must stay at home.

While you are self-isolating, you should: 

  • stay at least 2 metres (6 feet, or 3 steps) away from other people in your home
  • stay in a different room from other people in your home, ensuring it is well-ventilated
  • sleep alone in a separate bed
  • spend as little time as possible in shared areas (sitting room, kitchen, bathroom)
  • avoid using your kitchen while others are present
  • use a separate towel to dry your hands after you wash them; and
  • clean your kitchen, bathroom and other surfaces throughout the house every day

You should always:

  • wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds regularly, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if your hands aren’t visibly dirty
  • catch your coughs or sneezes in a disposable tissue and put it in the bin, or catch them in the crook of your elbow; and
  • avoid touching your face, and especially your mouth, nose or eyes

It will be helpful to think about who you could ask for help to make sure you can stay at home and self-isolate successfully, such as your family, friends or neighbours who could collect food or medicines for you. You can also often arrange to have repeat prescriptions delivered, and retailers can offer deliveries of food and other essentials.

You can find information about these services as well as other support on the Ready Scotland website

The National Assistance Helpline is also available for people staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus who cannot otherwise get the help they need. 

If you need it, you can call the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000, or contact via textphone on 0800 111 4114.


First published: 18 Feb 2021 Last updated: 9 Sep 2021 -