Politics

Covid Scotland: Will the self-isolation period reduce in Scotland?

The Scottish Government hopes to make a decision on reducing self-isolation times on January 5, the First Minister has confirmed.

Calls have been made to follow England’s footsteps by changing the self-isolation period from 10 days down to seven if they have covid, with staff absences affecting the economy and pressuring the NHS.

In the USA self-isolation has been cut even further to five days. 

In an update to parliament, Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross said he had been asking Nicola Sturgeon to allow covid household contacts to end self-isolation if they had received a negative PCR test as well as reduce times down to seven days. 

And, also referenced the latest studies that indicated Omicron is milder compared to other variants before. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon gives Covid update as cases reach record highs

He asked the First Minister, “what more information do you need?”

Ms Sturgeon said the government were taking a few more days to weigh the benefits and risk of that decision and it was important to “get it right”.

“Douglas Ross rightly points to the more positive news in the studies that were published just before Christmas, but as the author of these studies themselves point out, it’s important not to over-interpret these studies,” she said.

“They do suggest that the hospitalisation rate is lower than other variants…that will not give us any benefit if the overall volume of cases cancels that out and leads us to a higher number of people going to hospital.

“If we release people from isolation while they might be still infectious, then yes we will relieve some of the pressure on the economy, but that will be short-lived.”

READ MORE: Swinney warns Scots against heading to England for Hogmanay celebrations

The Scottish Government is waiting for the fluctuating number of cases from Christmast to steady and any changes to self-isolation will be made right after the New Year.

“We hope we will do this in the New Year but I think that anyone would see that we take a very responsible approach to this, ” the First Minister added.

While the current self-isolation times in Scotland remain under review, the Scottish Government has announced a sectoral exemption scheme.

The sectoral exemption scheme means that some slots for PCR tests will be prioritised for essential workers such as those in the NHS and transport sectors as well as for those who are clinically vulnerable or eligible for new COVID treatments. 

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