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Latest news | Rolling updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus advice

Latest news

Rolling updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus advice

This page gives a rolling update on COVID-19 coronavirus. It will be kept up to date as much as possible.

Coronavirus in Scotland

There are now confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) across Scotland.

Health services are dealing with the outbreak, and we must play our own part to help prevent further spread by following the latest medical advice.

People have been advised to follow the public health advice for coronavirus, which is continuously updated and can be found on the NHS Inform website.

Crucially, people are asked to remember FACTS:

  • F - Face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces.
  • A - Avoid crowded areas, both indoors and outdoors.
  • C - Clean your hands and hard surfaces regularly and thoroughly.
  • T - Two metre distancing from people outside of your household.
  • S - Self-isolate, and book a test immediately, if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

On March 17th 2020, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, provided a full update on the challenges ahead and measures being taken to address them as a result of coronavirus. You can read the full statement here on the Scottish Government website.

Additionally, the four nations’ Action Plan and tailored guidance for Scotland’s unique landscape were both published. These documents set out additional arrangements for Scotland, what we know so far, and what actions will be taken at each phase in response to the coronavirus.

Much of this planning has been based on reasonable worst case scenarios which will be refined as our understanding of the virus develops, but it is vital that we are well equipped to deal with all possibilities.

On May 21 2020, the First Minister published the Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making - Scotland's route map through and out of the crisis that gives an indication of the order in which we will carefully and gradually seek to change current restrictions.

May 29th 2020, lockdown began to ease with physical distancing and staying at home still essential to tackling the virus.

Health advice

If you’ve developed a new continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature/loss or taste or smell in the last 7 days, stay at home for 7 days from the start of your symptoms even if you think your symptoms are mild.

Anyone over the age of 5 who has developed symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible for a test. These can be booked online: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 0300 303 2713.

Using the new "Test and Protect" system, you will be asked to share your recent close contacts, and they will be confidentially contacted and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital.

Only phone 111 if your symptoms:

  • are severe or you have shortness of breath
  • worsen during home isolation
  • have not improved after 7 days

If you have a medical emergency, phone 999 and tell them you have COVID-19 symptoms.

If you have symptoms and live with others:

  • You should stay at home for 7 days from the start of your symptoms
  • They should stay at home for 14 days from the start of your symptoms even if they don’t have symptoms themselves

If you live with other people and have symptoms, they'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the start of your symptoms even if they don’t have symptoms themselves.

If they develop symptoms within the 14 days, they need to stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms began. They should do this even if it takes them over the 14-day isolation period.

Everyone in Scotland is also being asked to download the NHS Scotland Test and Protect App, the confidential, contact tracing app to help protect each other and reduce the spread of COVID-19 across Scotland.

If you have a non-COVID19 related health concern, please contact your GP or 111. In an emergency, call 999.

Free information for people who do not have symptoms but are looking for general advice is available at NHSinform.scot or call the helpline on 0800 028 2816

Lockdown easing and current restrictions: What can I do?

The Scottish Government is asking people to remain at home as much as possible and keep your distance from others in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

On May 29th, lockdown measures began to ease, starting with Phase 1. On June 18th the Scottish Government announced a further easing of lockdown restrictions as Scotland moved into Phase 2. On July 9th the Scottish Government moved into Phase 3 in a further easing of lockdown restrictions. On September 22nd, the Scottish Government outlined new restrictions in relation to limits on social gatherings and settings.

On October 7th, following a rise in infections the Scottish Government announced tough, new restrictions, backed by a new £40 million support fund for business and the existing UK Job Retention Scheme, that would last for 16 days. Restrictions on licensed premises will come into force from 18:00 on Friday 9 October, with all other restrictions applying from 00:01 Saturday 10 October.

The new measures for the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, where the infection rate is higher than other parts of Scotland, are:

  • All licensed premises will be required to close, with the exception of takeaway services
  • Cafés (unlicensed premises) which don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to open between 6am and 6pm
  • Takeaways (including from pubs and restaurants) can continue
  • Evening meals may be served in accommodation for residents only but no alcohol can be served
  • Specific life events, such as weddings and funerals, may continue with alcohol, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)
  • No group exercise classes for indoor gyms and sports courts, pools with an exemption for under 18s
  • No adult (18+) contact sports or training, except professional sports, indoor or outdoor
  • No outdoor live events
  • Snooker/pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls are to close
  • Public transport use should be minimised as much as possible, such as for education and work, where it cannot be done from home
  • Current meeting rules, maximum of six people from two households, continue to apply

Additionally,, shops across Scotland are asked to return to two metres physical distancing and reintroduce the mitigations they put in place earlier in the pandemic, including one-way systems.

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is pragmatic.

From June 22nd, face coverings are mandatory on all forms of public transport, taxis and private hire cars. Face coverings are also now mandatory in shops. Even when you go out normally, the Scottish Government has advised you wear a face covering in enclosed areas.

As of August 31st, face coverings should be worn in secondary school areas where physical distancing is difficult, like corridors. Children aged 5+ should also wear face coverings on school transport.

From September 14th, face coverings are mandatory in indoor hospitality venues for staff and customers when not eating and drinking (eg when entering a venue). Limited exemptions apply.

Governments are still advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

This group includes those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)
  • those who are pregnant

Shielding

Some groups of people are considered to be at extremely high risk of severe illness with COVID-19. These people should strictly follow shielding measures, which remains separate to the general advice.

People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • have had solid organ transplants
  • have lung cancer and are receiving active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • have cancers of the blood or bone marrow, such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • have severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma and severe COPD
  • have rare diseases that significantly increase the risk of infections such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell
  • have severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
  • are receiving immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • are receiving other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • are receiving immunosuppression therapies that significantly increase risk of infection
  • are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired)

Please check the guidance on shielding for more information.

Should you require additional support, including with food deliveries, you can check the Scottish Government's shielding and support contacts guidance, or contact your local council.

The Scottish Government paused shielding from July 31st, and request people follow the general guidance.

Key documents and contacts

Further guidance for health professionals can be found on the UK Government's coronavirus advice page.

Full information on the expansion of testing in Scotland is available on the Scottish Government website.

The Foreign Office has issue an Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice advising British nationals against all but essential travel as a result of COVID-19. All British nationals abroad have been advised to return home if they can.

The Scottish Government has also set up a helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19). Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team. It is available on 0300 303 0660.

If you are concerned that your employer is breaking health and safety standards, report it here.

Further updates will be provided as the situation develops.

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