JOHN Swinney has pledged that those who will be asked to self-isolate under the Scottish Government’s test and protect strategy will get their coronavirus results back within 24 hours if they develop symptoms. 

The Deputy First Minister also moved to reassure people that if test results are negative, they can leave isolation. 

As part of the test and protect strategy, people are asked to self-isolate for 14 days if they are believed to have come into close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19. 

If that person develops symptoms while isolating, they are told to book a test for Covid-19. 

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Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Swinney said people should receive the results within 24 hours and if they test negative, they can leave isolation. 

But despite the test and protect scheme being rolled out on Thursday, Mr Swinney said the Scottish Government is still working to "speed up the timescale within which results can be passed back", describing it as a "very critical priority", amid concerns about testing capacity and contact tracer numbers. 

Earlier this month, Professor Linda Bauld, chair of public health in the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh, warned that on average, it is taking around 30 hours from tests taking place to results being issued to patients in Scotland. 

She added: “Other countries are doing it in four hours.  

“If we want to start tracing and isolate, we are going to be too late with the tracing component.” 

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Mr Swinney emphasised the system depends on the "compliance and participation" of the public as Scotland moves into phase one of easing lockdown restrictions. 

"We've got to have the highest levels of compliance with the arrangements that we've put in place," he said, warning the country will not be able to enter phase two unless the spread of the virus remains under control. 

"We need to see that sustained as we move through each of the phases going forward because too much activity will refuel coronavirus within our community." 

He added: "We've got systems in place right across the country to make sure that we have the capability to contact trace. 

"We've got the ability to ensure that the steps have been taken to encourage compliance, so we should hopefully be in a position to avoid any circumstance like that." 

Addressing Scotland's most at-risk people who are still unable to leave their homes, Mr Swinney said: "The shielding group have made extraordinary sacrifices and we've said that we will set out further guidance to the shielding population before the expiry of the shielding period, which is around the middle of June. 

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"We're actively looking at what is the appropriate guidance and taking clinical advice about what needs to be said to that group. 

"Among the population, there will be a lot of anxiety about going out. There'll be a lot of enthusiasm to do it because people have been so insulated from society, but there will also be anxiety about going out, because of the potential risk to individuals."