NFU Scotland | /covid19-testing.aspx

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COVID-19 Testing


The Scottish Government's Test and Protect Scheme

From Thursday 28 May, the Scottish Government implemented a new Test and Protect strategy.  It follows a ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ approach.

  • Guidance from the Scottish Government  is available here
  • Information from NHS Inform about the scheme is available here


What is the Test and Protect Scheme?

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, which includes a fever, loss or change in smell or taste or a cough, must book a test via NHS Inform or calling 0800 028 2816.

The Scottish Government is encouraging all members of the public to download the Protect Scotland app, which is designed to alert users if they have been in close contact with another app user who has tested positive for COVID-19.  You can find out more about the app here.

What happens if the test is positive?

If the test returns a positive result for COVID-19, NHS contact tracers will contact the individual to identify who they have been in contact with.   ‘Close contacts’ will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and if the close contact subsequently develops symptoms, they will be required to take a test.

What is a ‘close contact’?

A close contact is some who:

  • Has been living in the same household as a case,
  • Has had face-to-face contact with a someone who has had contact with a positive case for any length of time, within 1 metre. This includes contact such as: having skin-to-skin contact with someone, traveling in a small vehicle with a case or having a face-to-face conversation.
  • Has had extended close contact with a positive case (between 1 and 2 metres for more than 15 minutes).


What is contract tracing?

Contract tracing is a process to identify those who have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. These people will be identified and given advice about how to help reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

  • More information from NHS Inform is available here


How will contact tracing work?

Everyone who has tested positive for Coronavirus will be put in touch with their local contact tracing team, who will help them identify anyone they have been close contact with.

If you are contacted because you have been in close contact with a confirmed case, you will be contacted by a local tracing team. Depending on the preferences of the infected person who shared your details, you may not be told the identity of the infected person.

What are the implications for my business?

It is important to maintain physical distancing in the workplace to protect your workforce and minimise any possible disruption that may occur if a team member tests positive for COVID-19.

If you have an unavoidable situation where staff may become with 2 meters of each other, ensure you have carried out a specific risk assessment, consider if additional safety measures are required. 

  • Public health guidance from Health Protection Scotland, available here


What happens if an employee has been identified as a ‘close contact’ to someone who has tested positive with Coronavirus?

If an NHS contact tracer contacts a member of your workforce and explains that they have been identified as a ‘close contact’, they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. If an employee has been asked to do this, it is important to support them to self-isolate straight away.

Some people who have been asked to self-isolate may not become unwell, but they must stay home and isolate for the full 14 days. If they are not unwell, they may be able to work from home.

  • Scottish Government Guidance is available here


How is contact tracing being delivered across the UK?

In Scotland, the Test and Protect scheme is being used. Information from NHS Inform is available here.

In Northern Ireland contract tracing is being used. Information from Public Health Agency is available here.

In England, the Test and Trace system is being used. Information from the Department of Health and Social Care (applicable to England only) is available here.

In Wales, the Test, Trace and Protect scheme is being used. Information from the Welsh Government is available here.

What is self-isolation?

The government has stated it essential to use self-isolation to limit the severity and spread of this evolving infection across the UK.

It is essential to self-isolate if:

  • You have been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111,
  • You have COVID-19 symptoms, 
  • Someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms,
  • You have been identified as being in ‘close contact’ with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This checklist also applies for any workers you may have in your farming business.

What should you do if you, or someone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19?

Current guidance from the Scottish Government states anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate and book a test.  Depending on the outcomes of the test, the Protect Scotland team will provide detailed advice about your next steps.

If symptoms worsen during home isolation, contact NHS24 (111) if you need emergency medical care, call 999 and advise the call handler you have symptoms and/or have tested positive for COVID-19. NHS Inform guidance is available here

If you have symptoms, but have received a negative test result, you will be advised by the Protect Scotland Team about when your period of self-isolation will end.  If in doubt, contact NHS 24 or use NHS Inform Guidance.

Key things to be aware of include:

  • People may be required to self-isolate more than once,
  • Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 must isolate for a minimum of 10 days.  The contact tracers will provide more information on what this means for individuals,
  • Close contacts will have to isolate for a minimum of 14 days, even if they show no symptoms, and may have to take a test if they develop symptoms, 
  • You may need to self-isolate even if you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered.



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