How can I protect myself and other people?
Anyone can spread coronavirus. To save lives, there are 5 important things to remember:
- wear a face covering on public transport and in shops and other places where distancing is difficult
- avoid crowded places
- clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay 2 metres away from other people
- self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
When you’re out and about, it’s important to follow physical distancing and hygiene guidelines, to help prevent the virus spreading. This means you should stay 2 metres away from anyone who isn’t part of your household or extended household (if you have one) – this is about the width of a car. You can find out more about physical distancing at the NHS Inform website.
The guidance around physical distancing for children has now changed, so that it’s easier for them to spend time with their friends. Our page on physical distancing for children has more information.
Avoid public transport unless it's essential. If you need to use public transport, you must wear a face covering.
If you or anyone in your household or extended household has any symptoms, you must not leave your home, except to get tested (see ‘Can I be tested for coronavirus?’ below).
If we all follow these rules, however difficult, then fewer people will die of this virus than would otherwise be the case.
How are coronavirus restrictions changing?
The Scottish Government has set out how it plans to ease the restrictions we’re under due to coronavirus. The changes will happen in four phases. Phase 3 began on 10 July, which means you can now leave your home for any purpose. Our page on changes to restrictions explains what’s changing when. You can see the whole plan and find out more about what you can and can't do here.
Can I be tested for coronavirus?
If you have coronavirus symptoms, you should book a test online on the NHS Inform website. If you can’t book online, you can call 0800 028 2816. Anyone who has symptoms can be tested. These tests can be completed through any of the existing testing routes including drive-in Regional Testing Centres, Mobile Testing Units and by ordering a home test kit. From 22 July, children under 5 can also be tested. This means that if your child develops symptoms you can find out for sure whether they have coronavirus and get the appropriate treatment, and won’t have to isolate unnecessarily for 14 days if they just have a cold.
Until you get the results of the test back, everyone in your household and extended household (if you have one) must isolate themselves.
If the test is negative, everyone will be able to stop isolating. Until then, however, you must all stay at home.
If the test is positive, you must isolate yourself for 10 days and everyone in your household and extended household (if you have one) must isolate for 14 days. If you still have a fever after 10 days, you should isolate for 48 hours after the time the fever goes down.
You will also be put in touch with the local contact tracing team so that other close contacts can be identified. These close contacts, as well as everyone in your household, will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The test and trace process is confidential, and your close contacts will not be told that it was you that they were in contact with.
It’s important that everyone remains in self-isolation for the full length of time they’re asked to.
What if I've been in close contact with someone with symptoms?
If the local contact tracing team gets in touch with you because you have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days. This is because if you have the virus, it may take up to 14 days for it to develop into an illness.
A close contact is someone you’ve had direct contact with at a distance of less than one metre, or have had contact with for longer than 15 minute within 2 metres.
If you have been identified by NHS contact tracers as having been in close contact with a person with coronavirus, you will not be told who it is you have been in contact with.
If you develop coronavirus symptoms, you must isolate yourself for 10 days and get tested.
If you do not have symptoms yourself and are self-isolating as a close contact of someone with coronavirus, other people in your own household and extended household (if you have one) will not be asked to isolate along with you – unless they have also been in close contact with a person who is a confirmed case, in which case they will be informed by the NHS.
You can find out more about contact tracing and self-isolation on the NHS Inform website.
Can I go outside if I have symptoms?
No. If you or anyone else in your household and extended household (if you have one) develops symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature or a new and continuous cough or a loss of/change in smell or taste, that person must stay at home for 10 days, except to get tested (see ‘Can I be tested for coronavirus?’ above). In addition, everyone else in the household must stay at home for 14 days. If you need something ask someone out with your household to get it for you or have it delivered and left at your front door.
You can leave the house after 10 days if you're improving and you no longer have a temperature. If you still have a temperature, you shouldn’t leave the house until 48 hours after it has gone down. It's okay to leave the house after 10 days, even if you still have a cough.
If a household member develops coronavirus symptoms late in the 14-day household-isolation period (for example, on day 13 or day 14) the household isolation period does not need to be extended, but the person with the new symptoms has to stay at home for 10 days.
You can find all the information about what you need to do in the NHS Inform website here.
Can I go outside if I've been shielding?
People who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus are being advised to shield, to minimise the chance of catching the virus. However, as the virus continues to be suppressed, shielding was paused altogether from 1 August.
This means that people who were shielding can now follow the same rules as everyone else, provided they feel comfortable doing so. However, to stay safe, it’s important to strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures. You can find a guide to how safe different activities here, so you can make an informed decision. You can also get advice on how to stay safe doing different activities here. You can find out more about shielding at the gov.scot website.
I don't have symptoms, can I meet up with other people?
The guidance around physical distancing for children has changed, so that it’s easier for them to spend time with their friends. Our page on physical distancing for children has more information.
I’m pregnant – what should I do?
We realise this is a worrying time to be pregnant. You can find further advice on our page about pregnancy and coronavirus and on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.
What if my partner or ex-partner and I both look after our children but live in separate homes?
If you and your partner live in separate homes but take turns to look after your children, you can continue to do this. Our page on shared parenting has more information.
The media is reporting that coronavirus may have a disproportionate impact on people from minority ethnic communities. Is this true, and what do I need to do?
There is some emerging evidence, largely from England and the US, that coronavirus may have an increased impact on these communities. If you or anyone in your family becomes unwell, you should seek medical advice by phoning NHS 111.
Looking after yourself
These are all dramatic changes that we’re having to make. But it’s important to follow these guidelines so you can help protect your family’s health and the health of your community.
We have some useful advice on looking after you and your child’s mental health during this time:
- Mental health advice for parents during coronavirus
- Mental health support for expectant parents
- Mental health support for new mums
- Supporting your child’s mental health during coronavirus
You can also find advice on the Mind website about coronavirus and your wellbeing.