People in Scotland will soon no longer be mandated to self-isolate if they have symptoms of Covid-19.
From Sunday, May 1, the rules will instead be replaced with guidance for people to stay at home if they have symptoms of the virus and have a fever or are too unwell to carry out normal activities.
Scots will also no longer be advised to take a PCR test, whilst all contract tracing is being ended.
Under current rules, people who test positive for the virus are required to self-isolate for seven days.
They can then end their isolation if have no symptoms and record two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven, 24 hours apart.
Children and young people who are aged 18 and younger who have mild symptoms – such as a runny nose, a sore throat, or a slight cough, – but who are otherwise well, do not need to stay at home and can continue to attend education settings.
They should only stay at home if they are unwell and have a high temperature.
From May 1, the list of Covid-19 symptoms will also include; high temperature, fever or chills, loss or change in taste of smell, shortness of breath, unexplained tiredness, lack of energy, muscle aches or paints, unusual hunger, headaches, sore throat, a stuffy or runny nose, diarrhoea, and feeling sick or being sick.
The Protect Scotland app is also due to be closed down, whilst NHS Scotland will be taken out of emergency footing at the end of Saturday, April 30.
However, patients are still asked to only attend A&E if their condition is an emergency, due to the high demand across health and social care.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf acknowledged that the country is now in a “different phase” of the pandemic as he thanked the Scottish public.
“Scotland’s Test and Protect programme has been one of the key interventions in our response to Covid-19, the success of which has been due, in no small part, to the remarkable staff and volunteers working in Test and Protect – my sincere thanks go to them,” he said.
“I would also like to thank the Scottish public for their commitment and willingness to engage with Test and Protect when it was required of them and helping to protect their fellow citizens.
“However, we recognise we are now in a different phase of the pandemic. The primary purpose of testing is changing from population-wide testing to reduce transmission, to a targeted response focused on reducing severe harm of the virus.”
He continued: “As we are now seeing a steady reduction in new Covid cases, the NHS will no longer remain on emergency footing after Saturday 30 April. But we must continue with a measured approach to support the recovery and renewal of our NHS.
“This will require balancing capacity of the NHS and the wellbeing of the workforce to respond to increasing demands for urgent care while reducing the backlog of planned care.”