Publication - FOI/EIR release

COVID-19 changes to self-isolation and testing requirements: FOI release

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

Published:
19 Oct 2021
COVID-19 changes to self-isolation and testing requirements: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100232661
Date received: 20 Aug 2021
Date responded: 30 Sep 2021
Information requested

The number of times in which the coronavirus guidelines as to self-isolation and requirements of testing have changed during the time period of the pandemic. I am looking to ascertain information specifically in relation to the rules associated with taking a COVID-19 test and self-isolating accordingly. I therefore require the number of times that these rules have changed from March 2020 to present.

Response

Since the introduction of COVID-19 self-isolation requirements in March 2020, there have been 10 changes to the requirements:

1. Introduction of self-isolation – March 2020.
2. Requirement to stay in specified premises for a period of 14 days following arrival in the UK, at home or in other suitable accommodation – June 2020.
3. Required all persons arriving in Scotland from outside the common travel area to provide the address at which they will stay for the first 14 days following their arrival in Scotland – September 2020.
4. Self-isolation period reduced from 14 days to 10 days - December 2020.
5. Managed self-isolation – inclusion of persons who arrive in Scotland from elsewhere within the Common Travel Area, having in the previous 10 days departed from or transited through an acute risk country or territory – February 2021.
6. Introduction of Red/Amber/Green Traffic Light System for international travel. Red and Amber include completion of 10 days managed self-isolation – May 2021.
7. Self-isolation exemption introduced for critical workers - July 2021.
8. Second Amber route created for fully vaccinated travellers and other groups, reducing testing and isolation requirements – July 2021.
9. Requirements for eligible fully EU/US vaccinated travellers from Amber listed countries changed to day 2 test allows them not to self- isolate for 10 days in specified premises – August 2021.
10. Option to end self-isolation early following a negative PCR test for anyone who is doublevaccinated with at least two weeks passed since their second dose and who has no symptoms, as well as individuals who are under 18 years and 6 months old and those who can't receive the vaccine - August 2021.

With regards to changes in the rules for COVID-19 testing, with links to self-isolation requirements, from the beginning of the pandemic to now, there have been 7 changes to the requirements for testing:

1. PCR test introduced if you have symptoms, and a requirement to self-isolate if test is positive, as at 1 above – Commenced in March 2020.
2. PCR test introduced for pre-departure testing for passengers travelling to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area, with a negative test required before travel – Commenced in January 2021.
3. PCR test introduced for close contacts, with anyone identified as a close contact asked to take a PCR test and self-isolate – Commenced in February 2021.
4. Introduction of Red/Amber/Green Traffic Light System for international travel. Red includes Day 2 and Day 8 Testing, Amber includes Day 2 and Day 8 Testing and Green includes Day 2 tests only – May 2021.
5. Second Amber route created for fully vaccinated travellers and other groups, reducing testing and isolation requirements – July 2021.
6. Requirements for eligible fully EU/US vaccinated travellers from Amber listed countries changed to day 2 test and allows them not to self- isolate for 10 days in specified premises – August 2021.
7. Introduction of private testing for international travellers arriving in Scotland who are not in Managed Quarantine Facilities – September 2021.

In addition to the changes above, since November 2020, the Scottish Government has incrementally introduced a range of regular asymptomatic testing (using lateral flow devices) across a wide range of workforces/sectors and made universally available to the public.

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Contact

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Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

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