Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect

Last updated: 6 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 18 Feb 2021

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


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.

Self-isolation advice, including who needs to self-isolate, how long self-isolation should last, and how to book a test, can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Self-isolation guidance for individuals with possible coronavirus infection on NHS Inform.

Self-isolation policy changes 6 January 2022

Self-isolation guidance changed on 6 January:

Positive cases

Positive cases are advised to self-isolate for 10 days. However, if the individual returns two consecutive negative LFD tests taken at least 24 hours apart with the first test no earlier than day 6 they may end isolation before the end of the 10 day period if they have no fever.

Close contacts

Close contacts who are fully vaccinated, having received 3 doses of the vaccination (plus 14 days) or are aged under 18 years and 4 months, can take daily LFD tests  for 7 days instead of isolation - provided the tests are negative and they remains without symptoms. If someone has not received 3 doses of the vaccination, they will need to book a PCR test and even if this is a negative result, they will need to isolate for 10 days.

Guidance which applies if you were asked to isolate before 6 January 2022

The revised isolation guidance applies to anyone who receives a test result or is asked to isolate as a close contact on or after 6 January 2022.  If you were asked to isolate or received a positive test before 6 January, you should continue to follow the rules and guidance that you were given at the time. The revised guidance does not apply retrospectively.

Critical National Infrastructure exemptions

The Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) Exemption Scheme is ending from 6 January 2022 and being replaced by population wide changes to isolation policy. However, there may be a requirement for people who were isolating before 6 January to continue to attend work under the guidance of that scheme that was in place at the time:

  • people who are already daily testing under the CNI scheme from 5 January or earlier should continue to follow the CNI guidance until the end of their isolation period
  • people who were asked to isolate prior to 6 January but who have not yet been required or able to return to work under the CNI scheme may engage in daily testing and return to work in line with the rules set out in the CNI guidance, if required


The symptoms of COVID-19 are a 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 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
  • 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
  • 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: 6 Jan 2022 -