Covid: Nicola Sturgeon announces self-isolation in Scotland is to be cut to seven days

Scotland’s First Minister has announced that Scotland will follow the majority of the UK in reducing the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven days

The Covid self-isolation period in Scotland is set to be cut from 10 days to seven days, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Scots will be able to leave self-isolation after seven days from midnight after Ms Sturgeon made the announcement in parliament today.

It marks a change from the First Minister’s policy after pressure from political opponents to bring Scotland’s rules in line with the rest of the UK.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • Nicola Sturgeon has addressed the Scottish Parliament with a Covid update and has announced a raft of changes to self-isolation rules
  • Those who have been told to self-isolate due to Covid will see the duration of their isolation reduced from 10 days to seven days
  • It marks a move towards the same self-isolation rules as England and Wales after opposition politics put pressure on Ms Sturgeon to make the change
  • The First Minister also announced that people who test positive from a lateral flow test will no longer need to confirm this result with a follow-up PCR
  • New rules will be introduced from midnight on 5 January

What did Nicola Sturgeon say in her announcement?

Ms Sturgeon addressed the Scottish Parliament on changes during a Covid update earlier today (5 January).

Ms Sturgeon said: “This phase of the pandemic is possibly the most challenging so far.

“The most infectious variant so far is creating a volume of cases that, notwithstanding its possibly reduced severity, still has the potential to overwhelm us.

“Two years in, the kind of measures that have helped us control transmission in past phases are becoming less tolerable and causing more harm.

“So while not easy, we do need to continually adapt our ways of managing this virus, and we will.”

She confirmed Scotland would be following Wales and England in reducing the self-isolation period from 10 days to seven days.

However, someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 will only be able to leave isolation after a week if they test negative on a lateral flow test on day six and seven of the self-isolation period.

Household contacts in Scotland are also able to leave the home if daily lateral flow tests are taken for seven days and they return a negative result.

The new household contact rule only applied to children under the age of 18 and fully vaccinated (including a booster jab) adults, with unvaccinated household contacts still required to isolate for 10 days and take a PCR test.

People who also have a positive lateral flow test will no longer be required to confirm results with a PCR test, but only if they do not have any symptoms.

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.”

How many Covid cases are there in Scotland?

The First Minister revealed to MSPs during the update that cases have risen exponentially over the past week in Scotland, with statistics seeing an 87% increase in positive cases in the past seven days.

As of 2pm on 5 January, there were 16,103 new positive coronavirus cases confirmed in Scotland.

Hospitalisations have risen by 80% in the past week also, with 1,223 currently in hospital with the virus.

Ms Sturgeon said that the number of people in intensive care with the Covid-19 is “remaining stable”, with 42 patients.

Five deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours.

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