Do you need to isolate if you have Covid? Scotland’s new rules explained


Scotland lifted all Covid-19 restrictions over the weekend as the country entered a ‘new phase’ of the pandemic.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said Scotland is now “focused on reducing severe harm of the virus”, meaning Covid-19 is now being treated like other typical conditions.

On Sunday, May 1, 2022, isolation rules changed in Scotland. However, this does not mean the virus has gone away.

For two years, anyone with a positive test result was advised to self-isolate for ten days until the virus was no longer transmissible.

Now that self isolation is no longer required, what is the best way to act when you test positive or feel unwell?

Here is everything you need to know about self isolation in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK.

Scotland’s new isolation rules

Although there has never been a legal requirement in Scotland to self-isolate, the guidance has now changed.

Adults who test positive or who feel unwell should stay home and avoid contact with anyone who could be high risk.

According to the Scottish Government’s advice, If you were in the middle of self-isolation before the rule change, you should know to follow the revised guidance.

A statement read: “If you have tested positive you should follow the revised guidance to ‘stay at home’ for 3 days if you are 18 years and under, or for 5 days if you are over 18 years.

“The way that we count these days has changed. Day 1 is the day after you took your test.

“If you were identified as a close contact, you should end daily LFD testing on 1 May and you may leave isolation if you feel well.

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“If you later develop a temperature or feel unwell with respiratory symptoms, you should follow the revised guidance to ‘stay at home’.”

According to NHS advice, you should:

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days
  • avoiding meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine

This starts from the day after you did the test. You can go back to your normal activities if you:

  • feel well enough to do so
  • do not have a high temperature

The rules are slightly different for children and those aged under eighteen.

Children and young people who experience symptoms or positive tests should stay at home and avoid contact with people for three days from the day the test is taken.

This is because children and young people tend to be less infectious than adults. If they’re well and do not have a temperature after 3 days, there’s a much lower risk that they’ll pass on Covid-19 to others.

You should seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.

England



Self-isolation has been cut in Scotland

People in England with Covid will no longer have to self-isolate.

Those who experience symptoms are no longer required to take a test.

However, the NHS advises anyone with symptoms, or who has tested positive, to stay at home and avoid contact with others.

If you test positive the NHS advises to do the following:

  • Stay at home if you can – this helps reduce the number of people you have contact with
  • Avoid contact with people at higher risk from Covid-19, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from Covid-19, even if they’ve had the vaccine
  • Follow advice on how to avoid spreading the virus to people you live with
  • Let people who need to come into your home know that you’ve tested positive or have symptoms – they can then take steps to protect themselves, such as wearing a face covering that fits well, staying away from you as much as they can, and washing their hands regularly
  • Contact your healthcare provider and tell them about your positive test result or symptoms if you’re asked to attend a medical or dental appointment in person
  • Ask friends, family or neighbors to get food or other essentials for you
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wales

Although self isolation is no longer legally required, Wales is still advising people to take a Lateral Flow Test and self-isolate if they are symptomatic.

Lateral Flow Tests are still being offered for free from the Welsh Government.

If you test positive or experience symptoms, you should self-isolate for five days.

You may leave isolation if you begin to test negative on day five and six.

However you should continue to isolate and only leave after two negative test results.

You can finish isolation on day ten even if you continue to test positive.

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern-Ireland and experience symptoms or test positive for Covid-19, you should self-isolate.

A Lateral Flow Test can still be booked for free in Northern Ireland, but PCR tests are no longer freely available.

Advice is the same for Northern Ireland as Wales and Scotland.

This means you should isolate for five days, from when you take your first test.

Only when you test negative on two consecutive tests can you finish your isolation period.

You should continue to isolate for ten days in total if you fail to test negative.

Only after ten days can you leave isolation even if you continue to test positive.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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