Covid Scotland: Government 'actively considering' possible changes to 10 day isolation rules says John Swinney

Scotland’s minister for Covid recovery John Swinney has said the government is reviewing evidence and actively considering whether it is safe to reduce the 10 day coronavirus isolation period currently in place.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Mr Swinney said that the Scottish Government needs to look carefully at the clinical evidence emerging on the question of isolation time frames adding that there is no point in reducing the isolation period if it allows the virus to continue to spread.

“The key question is whether or not the period that is required for self isolation is necessary to ensure that we interrupt the circulation of the virus,” he said.

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"That must be the key consideration and obviously that is the judgement that we will form based on the clinical advice and the clinical clinical evidence that is presented to us.”

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While Scotland continues to advise a 10-day isolation period, England recently changed its rules to state that people can stop self-isolating after seven days if they test negative on lateral flow tests on days six and seven.

In the United States the isolation period has been reduced to just five-days for asymptomatic cases.

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Mr Swinney addressed the differing rules suggesting that the decisions may have been made to promote “economic efficiency” rather than on clinical judgements.

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Covid Scotland: Government 'actively considering' possible changes to 10 day isolation rules says John Swinney (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

He continued: “Ultimately, we've got to make a judgement on the question of the clinical arguments and the clinical points put forward as to what's the right stance to take because we serve nobody's interest well if we enable people to return to the labour market, to return to circulation within our society, if they are still shedding the virus, because that just defeats the object of self isolation.”

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Business groups have been calling for an urgent reduction to the self-isolation period to help films struggling staff shortages.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) said that “at a minimum” it wants Scotland to align with England, adding that if there is evidence to suggest it is safe to reduce it even further as seen in the US, it would “welcome serious consideration of this” from the government to reduce the pressures on staff and businesses.

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