Covid Scotland: Removing self-isolation rules would be ‘step too far’, expert says

Removing the coronavirus self-isolation rules now would be a “step too far” and would risk undoing progress in tackling the virus, a public health expert has said.

Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, urged a slow and cautious move out of the existing restrictions.

The requirement to self-isolate is expected to be lifted in England by the end of February, following an announcement by the Prime Minister.

England’s current self-isolation rules expire on March 24 but Boris Johnson said he hopes to bring them to an end a month ahead of that.

Removing the coronavirus self-isolation rules now would be a “step too far” and would risk undoing progress in tackling the virus, a public health expert has said.

The rules remain in place in Scotland though Nicola Sturgeon has said she will publish a new strategic framework for dealing with Covid-19 on February 22.

Ms Evans told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that trends in the virus were still “fairly stable”.

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She said: “Advice from the scientific community and the WHO is when you’re coming out of a peak or a spike, you do so slowly and you do so cautiously.

“I would argue at this point in time, certainly the potential of removal of self-isolation would be a step too far.”

She continued: “The worst thing that could happen is that we remove things too quickly and we end up undoing a lot of the good that we’ve done and worked so hard for.”

Ms Evans encouraged people to continue wearing face coverings indoors and in crowded spaces.

She said: “Most importantly, if you are unwell, stay at home.

“If you have an infectious illness, stay at home – and that includes flu and other things.

“Try not to be so caught up by some of the hope and optimism that we have that this is all over, because it certainly isn’t yet. Not yet.”

According to the latest data Scotland recorded 11 coronavirus-linked deaths and 7,341 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest figures.

The data from the Scottish Government showed the total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 had risen to 10,496.

There were 902 people in hospital on Thursday with recently confirmed Covid-19.