Test and Protect – NHS Scotland’s approach to controlling the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community – is being rolled out from 29th May 2020 onwards.

As the nation moves into the first phase of easing restrictions and people start to go out more, everyone is being asked to play their part in stopping the spread of the virus.

Alongside the advice that people with symptoms and their household need to stay at home, from today, they need to also book a test at nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or call 0800 028 2816 if they can’t get online.

Symptoms include a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss or change in taste or smell.

If the test result is positive, they will be asked to provide details of all recent close contacts to NHS Scotland contact tracers. This will be done confidentially and is vital step in slowing the spread of the virus.

Those who are contacted will then be asked to isolate for 14 days to keep their community and loved ones safe, and they will be offered a test if appropriate. The 14 day period is needed because if they have the virus, it may take that length of time for it to develop into an illness.

Alongside Test and Protect, continuing to keep two metres apart from others when outside as well as regular handwashing and good cough hygiene remains vital in helping to reduce the spread of the virus.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The aim of Test and Protect is to protect the public from spreading COVID-19 and to protect the country from a second peak.

“By ensuring those who may have come into contact with the virus take steps to isolate, we can break the chains of transmission and keep the virus suppressed whilst slowly changing lockdown measures.

“This approach can only work if we all play our part. From Thursday, we are asking everyone aged five and over who has COVID-19 symptoms – a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell – to book a test as soon as possible.

“It is important to do this as soon as symptoms are suspected. The quicker the virus can be identified, the better chance there is of stopping it spreading.

“It remains vital that alongside Test and Protect people continue to follow physical distancing advice and practise good hand and cough hygiene.”

For further information about the Test and Protect service, visit nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect .

Information about how to get additional support if you need to isolate can be found at readyscotland.org/coronavirus. Those who cannot leave their home or get the help they need from family, friends or online can call the National Assistance Helpline on 0800 111 4000.