People in Scotland may face multiple periods of social isolation as part of the government’s “test, trace, isolate, support” strategy for managing coronavirus long term, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
As part of the strategy, which will be introduced after lockdown is lifted, anyone that has been closer than two metres from an infected period for 15 minutes or more will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
The four-party strategy will, first, ask people with symptoms to identify themselves and to self-isolate for at least seven days. “Rapid testing” will then determine whether that person has coronavirus or not, a government policy paper laying out the strategy said.
Anyone with the virus will be asked to identify their close contacts, who will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks. The government will provide support for those that need it while isolating, the document says.
The strategy, which Sturgeon said would only come into effect when infection rates drop, requires Scotland to triple its daily capacity for coronavirus tests.
“In this next phase, we will be asking people to self-isolate, not for their own benefit, and not because we know for certain that they have contracted the disease, but in order to protect others in case they have,” Sturgeon said. “People may face self-isolation not just once, but on repeat occasions.”