Scottish Self-isolation Period Cut to Seven Days
People who test positive for Covid in Scotland will be allowed to exit self-isolation after seven days if they have no fever and record two negative lateral flow tests.
The move brings Scotland into line with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Household contacts of people with the virus will be allowed to take tests rather than going into quarantine, so long as they have had a booster shot.
The changes will take effect from midnight.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that no other changes will be made to Scotland's pandemic restrictions for at least another week.
A further 16,103 cases were reported on Tuesday, and the first minister said there had been "rapid and very widespread transmission" of the Omicron variant of the virus over the festive period.
Official surveys suggested that in the week to 23 December, one in every 40 people in Scotland had Covid - and within a week, this had risen to one in every 20.
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that the virus was "more widespread now than at any point in the pandemic so far", something which has had "extremely serious implications" for the NHS and other key services.
The number of people in hospital with the virus has increased by 80% over the past week, from 679 to 1,223 - although the number of people in intensive care has been broadly stable, with 42 recorded yesterday.
Commenting on the First Minister’s Covid-19 update, Vicki Unite, Chief Executive of Perthshire Chamber of Commerce said:
“All our businesses have sought from the word go is clarity and a clear path back to our economy functioning effectively again.
“They appreciate we are living in unprecedented times, and a fluid situation, where decisions are made, depending on health statistics, which has become seemingly more complicated because of the Omicron variant. It remains to be seen whether the reduced isolation will impact on business and staff absence.
“But in terms of brass tacks, when you have staff and suppliers to pay, businesses need to know if they are going to be able to do that. If the wheels of industry are not being allowed to turn, then the economic circle will be damaged, perhaps irrevocably. The financial support, while welcome, has been insufficient to date, and this is something that needs to be addressed immediately.
“Working from home has been necessary and has benefited many people, but our town and city centre offices are the heartbeat of business, industry and local life, and they must be allowed to reopen with appropriate safety measures in place as soon as it is deemed feasible.”
Commenting on the First Minister’s Covid-19 update, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“Businesses will welcome the changes that the Scottish Government have made to the self-isolation requirements.
“These changes should have a positive impact on businesses ability to operate and allow employees to return to work safely, whilst also safeguarding public health.
“Additionally, greater alignment and an enhanced four-nations approach towards testing is a positive step in the right direction and many businesses who were struggling due to staff shortages will now be able to open their doors again.”
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