Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect

Published: 18 Feb 2021
Last updated: 13 Oct 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


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 Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.

It will help us to gradually change the restrictions that help to suppress the virus, and instead to contain it, so that society and the economy can avoid a return to lockdown and adapt to a new normal.

This approach is designed to help us interrupt chains of transmission in the community by identifying cases of COVID-19, tracing the people who may have become infected by spending time in close contact with them, and then supporting those close contacts to self-isolate, so that if they have the disease they are less likely transmit to it to others.

The 'test, trace, isolate, support' approach is an important public health measure that many countries have or are putting in place to ensure low levels of transmission of the virus in the community in the next phase. 

We ask people who have symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate for 10 days, and the people they live with to self-isolate for 10 days. That means not leaving the house at all, even to exercise or to get food and medicine. 

Family, friends and neighbours are able to help many people in this situation, a range of business offerings are in place to offer immediate help and there is support available from local authorities for people who are at risk and do not have people near to them who are able to help. 

In Scotland, we will continue to ask people who have symptoms of the virus, and their household members, to self-isolate. The NHS will also now be asking people to self-isolate who do not have symptoms but have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed by testing to have the virus. 

Self-isolation is different from the physical distancing measures everyone in Scotland has been following. Everyone has been staying home if they can. Key workers have continued in their important roles, and others have been able to leave their home for exercise, or to buy food or get medicine for themselves or a vulnerable person, or for some other essential reasons. If you are self-isolating you won’t be able to do those things – you must stay at home for the whole time the NHS asks you to.

This will be hard for a lot of us, when we feel well and can see other people being able to go outside for exercise. But it is vital to the success of Test and Protect to bring down levels of transmission of the disease that we follow the instructions the NHS gives us, and that we stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.

This guidance is to help you think about how to self-isolate effectively if you need to. The most up-to-date health guidance is found on You can refer to the NHS Inform website as well as the guidance here.

More information for residents or visitors who have arrived in Scotland since 8 June is available.

First published: 18 Feb 2021 Last updated: 13 Oct 2021 -