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?

Under this new process, 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.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 7 days and their household must self-isolate for 14 days.

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.

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. You will 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 stated that from 13 March, anyone developing symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate for 7 days.  

  • If you have symptoms and live with others, the rest of the household must enter 14 days of self-isolation,
  • All family members who do not display any COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days, 
  • If those with symptoms feel better and do not display COVID-19 symptoms after 7 days of displaying symptoms, they can return to social distancing measures,
  • If a person in the household develops symptoms late in the 14-day isolation period, they cannot leave the house for 7 further days. This does not extend the 14-day period for others.

If symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days people are advised to phone their GP or contact NHS24 (111).  NHS Inform guidance is available here

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