PEOPLE who come into contact with people showing Covid-19 symptoms may face self-isolation not just once “but on repeat occasions”, Nicola Sturgeon has warned.

The Scottish Government has published its test, trace, isolate, support strategy - which will form part of the next stage of suppressing the coronavirus pandemic.

It is likely to remain in place until a vaccine is developed and the infection rate will need to decrease before the programme can be started. The Scottish Government hopes it can move to the strategy by the end of May.

Officials have set out five key steps for the strategy “ to be delivered effectively”. Before it can begin, the Scottish Government first requires an “effective disease surveillance” along with “early identification and isolation of possible cases”.

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To push ahead with the strategy, officials need “early and rapid testing of possible cases” where the capacity can ensure that “everyone who needs a test can get one”.

In order to be implemented, “early and effective tracing of close contacts of a confirmed case” will be needed, as well as “early, effected and supported isolation of close contacts”.

The Scottish Government believes it “may need to provide sufficient tests for around 2% of the population and will therefore need to be able to deliver up to 15,500 tests per day when ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ is fully rolled out.”

It adds that “testing and tracing will only have an impact on reducing transmission in the community if close contacts of confirmed cases self-isolate”.

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The document states: “We will be asking most people who have been in close contact with a confirmed case to remain at home completely during this time, isolating themselves as far as possible from other household members.

“For example, anyone in isolation should not be undertaking outdoor exercise or shopping trips. If they then develop symptoms, any close contacts, such as household members, would then be asked to self-isolate.

“Test, trace, isolate, support, along with other public health interventions to reduce the risk of transmission, is likely to be part of life in Scotland until a vaccination programme for Covid-19 has been delivered. Our approach will develop over time to reflect new insights into the disease, and learning about the delivery of test, trace, isolate, support in Scotland and around the world.”

In the document, Ms Sturgeon warns that “we will test people in the community who have symptoms” and use contact tracing to “identify the close contacts of those cases”.

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She adds: “We will ask and support those close contacts to self-isolate, so that if they do develop the disease, there is less risk that they will pass it on to others. And we will make sure that support is available to enable people to isolate effectively.

“However, it is important to stress that “test, trace, isolate, support” will be most effective when levels of infection are low – lower than now – and stay low, and that its success relies on all of us knowing and agreeing what to do if we have symptoms, and being prepared to self-isolate when advised to do so.

“This will not be easy. 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. People may face self-isolation not just once, but on repeat occasions.”

The document sets out that the test, trace, isolate strategy “will not be effective on its own: but will run in parallel with existing measures including social distancing, hand hygiene and use of face coverings.

The strategy will start with “contacts of priority groups” including patients and health and social care workers - before the Scottish Government “quickly broadens coverage as we continue to increase our testing capacity”.