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First Minister confirms Scotland moves in line with the rest of the UK as the self-isolation time is cut and close contacts need no longer self-isolate as Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross accuses her of a U-turn that left the country as an 'outlier'

By Scott Maclennan

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotland has moved in line with the rest of the UK after the First Minister came under pressure to ease some of the restrictions on those affected largely by the Omicron variant.

Two significant changes to the current rules will take effect from midnight tonight – the length of time to maintain self-isolation for household contacts.

People who test positive for Covid can cut their self-isolating time to seven days if a person has no fever and records two negative lateral flow tests.

The first negative test must be taken no earlier than six days after testing positive and the second must be at least 24 hours after that first negative test.

The second change effective from tonight is for close contacts – including household contacts – of positive cases.

Those contacts will now have to take lateral flow tests instead of self-isolating but that only applies to those under 18 years and four months or those older than that but who have been fully vaccinated with two doses and a booster.

For anyone who was not fully vaccinated, they will still be asked to isolate for 10 days and be asked to take a PCR test.

Ms Sturgeon says existing Covid rules will stay in place and will probably remain until 17 January but a new framework is in the works to handle the virus into the future..

Currently, a further 16,103 positive cases have been reported in Scotland, with five further deaths and 1223 people in hospital with Covid – 42 of them in intensive care.

She said: “Tomorrow's figures will almost certainly see us pass more than one million cases since the outset of the pandemic.

“We need to adapt our thinking so that we can become more resilient in future. This does not mean giving up on trying to control Covid completely.

The impact of it on our individual health and our collective well-being is significant for that. But it does mean seeking ways of doing so that are more proportionate, more sustainable and are less restrictive.

“There are no easy answers here but adapting to ongoing challenges of Covid is inescapable.

“The Scottish Government is therefore working on a revised strategic framework that will set out more fully how that process of adaptation can be managed.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “I welcome the U-turn on self-isolation rules, which Scottish Conservatives have been calling for since day one. We said then the policy was not sustainable.

“Every other part of the United Kingdom made this change, but Scotland was left as an outlier. Why did the First Minister take so long to make this change?

“I also welcome the changes to testing rules, which are sensible and in line with the approach across the United Kingdom.”

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