Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced Friday that beginning Monday, the self-isolation period after contact with confirmed COVID-19 carriers will be shortened from 14 to 10 days in the nation.
At her COVID-19 news briefing in Edinburgh, Sturgeon also said that the four-day reduction in the self-isolation period would apply to travelers returning from high-risk countries. She said the new policy was based on recommendations from Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
She said the chief medical officers in all four jurisdictions – Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have agreed to the reduction.
In an interview with the Associated Press, British Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said the new policy was based on studies conducted by the SAGE and a separate advisory group on emerging respiratory virus threats. Harries said those studies found people were least likely to transmit COVID-19 at the end of their infection.
She said reducing the self-isolation period would allow a "reasonable balance" between managing the risk to the public and intruding on people's lives.
Sturgeon reported 1,001 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24-hour period. It was the first time in about two weeks that the daily rate was over 1,000. But that number was the result of nearly 25,000 test results, reflecting a positivity rate of less than five percent — which is considered a good sign.
The first minister also announced that non-essential shops across much of western Scotland — including Glasgow — have reopened for the first time in three weeks, She urged people to follow rules, avoid crowded shops, and shop alone or in small groups.