Rate of COVID-19 transmission in the hair and beauty profession: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You asked for any information held by the Scottish Government on the rate of transmission in your profession as a freelance hair and make-up artist.


A response to your request is below. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty where or when a person contracts Covid-19 so it is not possible to provide information like this. What we can do is retrace the steps of positive cases to understand where and when they have interacted with people in the week prior to their diagnosis. Unless we are able to identify another positive case they have interacted with, it is unlikely that we will be able to identify which interaction led to the transmission.

What we do know is that once a person contracts Covid-19 it is highly likely that it will spread amongst the household. With that in mind we need to limit opportunities for non-essential interactions between households and that is what has driven the current restrictions.

Contacts are traced from information collected and made available to Test and Protect by Incident Management Teams. This allows Test and Protect to contact those who may have been exposed to the virus in a particular setting, and request them to take appropriate steps to prevent potential onward spread.

Public Health Scotland produces a table of settings and events that index cases have attended over the previous 7 days. This is based on interviews conducted with cases identified in the Case Management System and involves cases recalling where they have been in the 7 days prior to symptom onset (or date of test if asymptomatic). However, Public Health Scotland cannot infer from the figures whether a specific setting or an event indicates where the COVID-19 transmission took place. This is because cases may have attended multiple settings or events within a short space of time, some of which may be low risk settings and events where it is highly improbable that transmission took place. In addition, it is possible that even though a case visited a few settings and events, transmission may have taken place within their home setting.

The analysis is designed for contact tracing purposes and not for identifying the exact location where transmission took place. So, while these figures do not demonstrate that the infection was acquired in each of these settings, they do demonstrate the types of settings the individuals may have been in while potentially infectious themselves. With that in mind, I would draw your attention to the Events & Settings table within the full report where the Personal Care category is broadly equivalent to close contact settings.

I have also provided links to the SAGE information which you refer to in your email. The meeting note and associated papers set out a range of measures - including closing of close contact services - that would have the largest epidemiological impact on the transmission rate and the estimated impact on overall transmission rate of each of the measures if implemented.

S0768_Fifty-eighth_SAGE_meeting_on_Covid-19.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Summary of the effectiveness and harms of different non-pharmaceutical interventions, 21 September 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) table, 21 September 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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