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Covid Update: Self-isolation reduced to seven days but a positive lateral flow test is now enough to trigger this

By David Porter

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The First Minister has updated ministers this afternoon on changes which will be introduced from midnight tonight on self-isolation.

She said: "The surge of cases continues here in Scotland, the UK and indeed the world,

"New cases have increased by 87 per cent and we will pass 1million Covid-19 cases in Scotland this week since the start of the pandemic.

"Rapid and widespread transmission of Omicron means that two weeks ago 1 in 40 people had Covid, the most recent figures show it had risen to 1 in 20, but it is likely to rise even higher and we will see growth with work and schools returned.

"It will become more prevalent in days to come and this has serious implications for the NHS and the economy due to the high numbers off work, conpounded by rules on self isolation.

"We are not proposing any new measures today, but we continue to apply some break on transmission.

"The restriction on distancing and large gatherings and for table service will remain in force for now.

"In addition, while not legally enforced we are advising people to limit contact with other households where possible.

"After two long years, cutting all social interactions would be damaging to mental health, but limiting to those that matter most to us helps ups to stem some transmission.

"The risk of getting the virus is significant when we mix, especially when it is at the rate it is."

She continued: "The evidence in the under 60s is that Omicron is less serious and we know that boosters provide strong protection for all ages. but not withstanding this the sheer volume of people becoming infected means that more people are ending up in hospital.

"Work is also underway to understand the details behind the hospital numbers from those because of Covid versus those with Covid is due to be published on Friday.

"What is beyond doubt is that it is having an impact - there was a rise of 80 per cent in numbers of people in hospital in the last week.

" The NHS is now facing pressure on non-Covid backlog, staff absence and even with lower rate, sheer volume is leading to more patients in hospital."

She said: "We need to seek new ways of dealing with Covid and adapting to the ongoing challenge sand will publish a new strategic framework and the changes I am about to announce are part of this on going work.

"We are now proposing two changes to self isolation from midnight -

"First to those who test positive - initial advice is still to self isolate for 10 days - but now seven days if you have no fever and two negative test - one on day six and one 24 hours after.

"The second change is for contacts U18 and fully vaccinated (First, second and booster) close contact will end and be replaced by a requirment to take lateral flow test every day for seven days, "Anyone over 18 and not full vaccinated must isolate and take a PCR test.

"This is not without risk but strikes a balance between isolation and reducing disruption to services.

"We are also change to advice on testing.

"For those who have symptoms - advice remains to book a PCR test and advice to everyone remain to take regualr lateral flow tests.

"From tomorrow - if a lateral flow test is positive and do not have symptoms you no longer have to take a PCR test to confirm this and you must immediately isolate and report this online to allow Test and Trace to notifty contacts as soon as possible.

"Treating positive lateral flow tests as confirmation of Covid will allow us to maximise testing and start a speedier test and trace process."

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