What are the latest Covid-19 rules in Scotland?

Photo by Ross Sneddon on Unsplash

Covid-19 restrictions are regularly under review and often differ across the UK. After an initial delay, Scotland will now go ahead with plans to change self-isolation and testing guidance for people who have symptoms of Covid-19. This follows the removal of face coverings in public settings from 18 April. Below are the new guidelines in Scotland set out by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon from 30 April.

[Note: we last updated this article in October 2022, and aim to keep up to date with the latest information as we receive it]

The Scottish Government announced a new strategy earlier in 2022 which assesses the Covid threat on three levels: low, medium and high. Following a drop in the number of daily reported Covid cases in Scotland (from 12,000 in March to less than 3,000 by the end of April), the threat level is considered to be on track towards low.

This trajectory reassured the Government's decision to progress with easing the remaining Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland at the beginning of May.

The legal requirement to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces or on public transport ended on April 18.

You are no longer required to wear a face mask in public settings. However the Scottish Government strongly recommends that people continue to wear masks indoors, "particularly when significant numbers of people are present" to prevent the virus spreading and reduce pressure on the NHS.

Test and Protect Transition Plan

The Test and Protect Transition Plan aims to make testing more focussed in order to reduce harm from Covid-19. This means that:

  • Non-symptomatic people will not be required to test for Covid.

  • Free PCR and Lateral Flow Tests for the wider public are now unavailable - except for those in clinical, health and social care, or those visiting vulnerable people in healthcare settings or hospitals.

  • Testing sites and the Protect Scotland app will close.

  • Businesses are not required to collect customer details for Test & Trace purposes and are not legally required to implement social distancing and screen protections to reduce the virus' spread.

New self-isolation guidance

From 1 May, public health advice for people with symptoms of Covid-19 will be to stay at home if you feel unwell. However, you will no longer be required to take a PCR test or to self-isolate. This means that Scotland’s self-isolation guidance now matches that which was introduced in February for England.

Latest symptoms to look out for

New symptoms have been added to the original signs of Covid infection to look out for. These include shortness of breath, tiredness, lack of energy, muscle aches or pains, unusual hunger, headaches, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea and sickness. In addition to a fever, new, continuous cough and a loss of smell or taste.

Travelling to Scotland from abroad

In a UK-wide agreement, all international travel restrictions for inbound travellers to Scotland ended on Friday 18 March. This means that:

  • Vaccinated and Non-vaccinated travellers are not required to complete a Passenger Locator Form.

  • Non-vaccinated travellers do not need to take pre-departure and day two PCR tests.

Outbound travellers from the UK to countries abroad should still check the Covid requirements for their destination.

Although restrictions are easing in the UK, it’s important to remember that Covid-19 still exists. We all need to do our part to protect ourselves and others.

If you’re planning to visit other parts of the UK, remember to look up the Covid-19 guidance for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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