Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect

Published: 18 Feb 2021
Last updated: 26 Jul 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
Close contact testing

Close contact testing

From 18 February, if you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus you will be asked by Test and Protect to take a test. You should do this at the start of your 10-day self-isolation period.

Taking a test is not an alternative to self-isolating. You will still need to isolate for the full 10 days even if you test negative for coronavirus.

What you need to do

If you are a close contact identified through Test and Protect, a contact tracer will, during their call advising your period of self-isolation, tell you how to book your test. If you are identified through the Protect Scotland App, you will be referred to the test booking portal to book your test. You can also get help booking your test by calling 0800 028 2816.

If you are identified as a close contact (household or non-household) of a person who has tested positive you should book your test as soon as possible.

If you’re a close contact, but you’ve already tested positive in the past 90 days, you should not get tested but instead complete the full self-isolation period.

If you test positive for coronavirus

If you test positive for coronavirus, you will be contacted by Test and Protect to identify any close contacts that need to self-isolate. You will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days from taking your test.

If you test negative for coronavirus

If your test, taken while self-isolating as a close contact, comes back negative for coronavirus you cannot leave self-isolation. A test provides a point in time assessment of whether someone had the infection when the test was taken. It cannot indicate whether someone is incubating the disease, and therefore may go on to develop it after a test is taken. It is for this reason that close contacts must complete the required 10 days of self-isolation.

It is especially important to finish your self-isolation period because the new strains of the virus are more infectious. Not everyone who has coronavirus will have symptoms, so you could be spreading the disease to those around you without knowing it, if you leave self-isolation early.

What to do if you develop symptoms during self-isolation

If you start developing symptoms of coronavirus during your self-isolation period, even after testing negative initially, you should book a test immediately. The rest of your household needs to self-isolate until you receive further instructions alongside your test result.

First published: 18 Feb 2021 Last updated: 26 Jul 2021 -