Coronavirus self-isolation period reduced to ten days

Quarantine period will be reduced from Monday on the advice of the UK's chief medical officers.

The self-isolation period for international travellers and close contacts of people who catch coronavirus has been shortened.

From Monday, anyone asked by tracing service Test and Protect to stay at home or who returns to Scotland from a country on the quarantine list will have to self-isolate for ten days.

The current quarantine period is 14 days, but has been reduced on the advice of the UK’s four chief medical officers.

The new rules will apply to all those who are currently self-isolating, including those who began quarantine before Monday.

Health chiefs said in a joint statement that, following a review of the evidence, they were “confident” that the self-isolation period could be shortened.

This reduction already applies in Wales following an announcement by the country’s government earlier this week.

The UK chief medical officers said: “After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to ten days.

“People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for ten days instead of 14 days.

“People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for ten days from onset of symptoms or ten days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic.

“We urge everyone to self-isolate when appropriate, it will save lives.”

A £500 support payment given to those on low incomes who are asked to self-isolate will not be reduced as a result of the change, the First Minister said at the coronavirus briefing on Friday.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “It’s important for me to be clear, they will have no impact – these changes – on the payment that is available for people on low incomes who require to self-isolate.”

A number of countries are currently on the quarantine list, with the Canary Islands the latest destination to be added.

Scotland’s health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “While self-isolation may be for a shorter period, it remains vital that everyone who is required to do so remains at their home or other named address for this time.

“Only by doing this can we break the chain of transmission of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.”

The changes from Monday, December 14 are:

  • Someone who has been contacted through Test and Protect or their health board and notified to self-isolate should do so for ten days;
  • Someone who is required to quarantine following arrival into Scotland from overseas should self-isolate for ten days;
  • Someone who was previously instructed to self-isolate will be able to stop self-isolating ten days from when they were first notified to do so;
  • Close contacts, including members of the same household who test positive for Covid-19, will only need to isolate for ten days, rather than 14.
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