A MAJOR change to ‘stay a home’ Covid rules in Scotland has come into force today.
The Scottish Government announced last week that new public health advice was coming for people who have tested positive for the virus, or for those who have symptoms.
From today, people with symptoms or a positive test will no longer have to take a PCR test or self isolate.
Instead, people will be asked to stay at home until their fever has gone or if until they feel well enough to carry out normal activities.
The new rule change will also see all contact tracing come to an end.
Testing for the general public officially ended yesterday.
Testing is now only available for health and social care workers, care home and hospital visitors, patients groups eligible for treatment, hospital patients, unpaid carers and people in prison.
Children and young people who have mild symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, slight cough but are otherwise well will still be able to go to school.
Youngsters have been advised they should only not go to school, college or childcare if they are unwell and have a high temperature.
The difference for youngsters is because they have a higher likelihood of showing respiratory symptoms from non-COVID illnesses than adults.
The Protect Scotland App will also be shut down but Scots have been advised to keep the app on their phones in case it is needed.
The NHS will also be taken out of an emergency footing at the end of Saturday as coronavirus cases continue to fall.
As the NHS continues to see high demands, people have been urged to only attend A&E if it is an emergency.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Public health expert Professor Linda Bauld told the BBC that people can still become really unwell with Covid and those with a high temperature are strongly advised to stay at home.
If they still have lateral flow tests in the house and test positive, they should still should isolate for five days and children should isolate for three days.
She added that measures may need to be reassessed if a new variant ‘challenged’ the progress made.