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Self-isolation rules explained Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon tests negative

Nicola Sturgeon has been allowed to end her self-isolation period after testing negative as she followed Scotland’s latest rules.

The First Minister was forced to isolate on Sunday night after being identified as a close contact with someone who contracted the deadly virus.

Taking to social media, she today announced she would be ending self-isolation as she is double vaccinated and her PCR test came back negative.

Scotland’s new self-isolation rules changed at the start of August after the country moved beyond Level 0.

Self-isolation has been a core part of the pandemic since coronavirus was first identified and aims to stop the spread of the deadly bug further to the population.

Under the old rules, anyone who was a close contact with someone who tested positive was required to isolate, regardless of vaccination status.

So, what are Scotland’s self-isolation rules now? Here’s the restriction explained…

Do I have to isolate if I come into contact with a positive case?

The First Minister was forced to isolate on Sunday night after being identified as a close contact

Beyond Level 0, the requirement to self-isolate as a close contact of a positive case has changed for fully vaccinated individuals, as long as you remain asymptomatic.

You do not need to self-isolate as a close contact if you:

  • Are fully vaccinated and 14 days has passed since your second dose of vaccination
  • You have taken a negative PCR test since being advised to isolate as a close contact. You must remain in self-isolation while awaiting the result of the PCR test result
  • You do not develop COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop at any stage, you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test, in line with existing arrangements

What are the rules for fully vaccinated people?

You do not need to self-isolate as a close contact if you are fully vaccinated and 14 days has passed since your second dose of vaccination, and you have a negative PCR test.

Adults who are not fully vaccinated must continue to self-isolate for 10 days if identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

If you are not fully vaccinated, receiving a negative PCR test result after identification as a close contact does not permit you to leave self-isolation.

What is a ‘close contact’?

Self-isolation rules explained Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon tests negative
A lateral-flow COVID-19 test in a mass testing centre set up in St. Andrews

A ‘close contact’ is someone who has been physically close enough to the confirmed case for a long enough period of time, that they may have had the virus transmitted to them.

Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be put in touch with the local contact tracing team so that other close contacts can be identified.

These close contacts will also be asked to self-isolate for 10 days from symptom onset in the symptomatic person.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you will be given specific guidance depending on your vaccination status and age.

If you have been identified by NHS contact tracers as having been in close contact with a person with a confirmed case, you will not be told who it is you have been in contact with.

What if someone in my household tests positive?

Self-isolation rules explained Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon tests negative
A woman receives a vaccine in Glasgow

People who live in the same household as a person with symptoms should also isolate straight away.

If the test result for the symptomatic person is negative, and they are not already isolating as a ‘close contact’ of a confirmed case, they can end isolation and return to work or school when they are well enough and have not had a fever for 48 hours.

The rest of their household can end isolation straight away.

If the test is positive, the symptomatic person should remain in isolation until 10 days from symptom onset, or longer if certain symptoms persist.

The rest of the household should self-isolate and book a PCR test.

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What are the rules for children?

If a young person aged five to 17 is identified as a close contact, they will need to take a PCR test – but they can end their self-isolation if they test negative.

Close contacts under the age of five will be encouraged to take a PCR test. However, there is no requirement on under fives to self-isolate – provided they do not develop symptoms.

What happens if I test positive?

People who test positive must still self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of the positive test if displaying no symptoms.

What about travelling abroad?

Self-isolation rules will still apply for travelling abroad according the to traffic light system.

The green list – has no quarantine for returning passengers.

The amber list – fully vaccinated adults in the UK, the US and most European countries don’t have to self-isolate upon arrival.

The red list – adults regardless of vaccination status must self-isolate for 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotel for 10 days.




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