The self-isolation period after testing positive for Covid in Scotland has been shortened to seven days.
Nicola Sturgeon announced in the latest coronavirus update on Wednesday that the Government have made the “careful” decision allow people to shorten the Covid isolation period by three days in Scotland, if they have two negative lateral flow tests.
While self-isolating for 10 days is still recommended, those who have no fever and have recorded two negative lateral flow tests now have the option to stop isolating seven days after testing positive for Covid-19.
The first test must be taken no earlier than day six of testing positive for coronavirus and the second must be at taken at least 24 hours later.
Changes to isolation of close contacts
The First Minister also said close contacts to someone who has tested positive for Covid do not have to isolate if they are fully vaccinated and take a lateral flow test every day for seven days.
Those who do not have to isolate must have received all doses of the vaccine, including the booster or third doses or be aged under 18 years and four months.
Anyone older than this who is not fully vaccinated will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days and to take a PCR test.
These changes to self-isolation will come into effect from midnight on Wednesday.
Ms Sturgeon said: “These changes are significant and not completely without risk.
“However, at this stage of the pandemic they strike an appropriate balance between the continued importance of self-isolation in breaking chains of transmission, and reducing the disruption self isolation causes in the economy and critical services.”
No PCR with positive lateral flow
From Thursday, the First Minister said that anyone who tests positive for coronavirus with a lateral flow test, no longer needs to take a PCR to confirm the result.
Instead, people with a positive lateral flow must isolate immediately and report their results online.
Ms Sturgeon said: “At times of very high levels of infection the risk of a false positive lateral flow result is very low indeed – around just 3 in 10,000.
“So the safest thing to do at this stage is treat a positive lateral flow test as confirmation
“This allows us to maximise testing capacity and ensure a speedier start to the process
of contact tracing and advice.”
No further restrictions in Scotland
At this time, there will be no further restrictions in Scotland and all current rules on large gatherings and in hospitality venues will remain until at least January 17.
The First Minister added that while there is no current legal requirement for the number of people that can meet within one household, the government is asking people to limit indoor gatherings to a maximum of three.
“After two long years of this pandemic, asking people to cut all social interaction is not
feasible – and it would be damaging to mental health and wellbeing,” she said.
“However, limiting contacts insofar as we can, and thinking carefully about the
interactions that matter most to us, is important just now.”
One in 20 people have Covid in Scotland
A total of 16,103 new positive cases have been registered across Scotland in the latest 24-hour period.
There were 544 more people in hospital who had recently tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland yesterday with 1,223, in comparison to the previous week.
42 patients were also being treated in intensive care.
And a total of five deaths of people who tested positive for coronavirus in the last 28 days have been recorded in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon highlighted the most recent Office of National Statistics records suggest that during the week before December 31, one in 20 people had tested positive for the virus.
“Over the last week, the total number of new reported cases has increased by 87%” The First Minister added.
“Thursday’s figures will almost certainly see us pass 1 million reported cases since the
start of the pandemic.”