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Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect

Last updated: 2 Mar 2022 - see all updates
Published: 18 Feb 2021

Information and support for people who are asked to self-isolate because of COVID-19, including the Self-Isolation Support Grant (£500).

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect
Related information

Related information

Test and Protect information is available in different languages. 

General information is available at www.gov.scot/coronavirus.

For health related information please check NHS Inform.

The support available to help people in need while they are self-isolating is available on Ready Scotland.

Domestic abuse

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse help is available, including information about accommodation options. Call Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 027 1234 or visit www.safer.scot.

Domestic abuse is a crime. Call 101 to report it or 999 in an emergency. As outlined in this guidance, the rules on staying at home do not prevent you from leaving your home to escape or keep yourself safe from domestic abuse. 

Face coverings

Evidence of the benefit of using face coverings to minimise the spread of coronavirus is limited. The Scottish Government has previously said there may be some benefit in wearing a facial covering in enclosed spaces, especially where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people.

While you are self-isolating, you should try to keep at least two metres (six feet, or three steps) away from other people in your home as far as possible. If this is not possible, wearing a face covering may provide some level of protection against transmission to other people in close proximity.

Physical distancing and good hand and respiratory hygiene are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Therefore wearing a facial covering must not be seen as an alternative to any of these other precautions.

If you are self-isolating, you should not leave your home at all, even with a face covering.

Medical face masks are important in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there’s very little evidence of their benefit outside these settings. However, if you have a carer you may be asked to wear a mask to minimise the risk to them.


If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, you can get help from the council.

If you need advice in an emergency, you can phone Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.

By law, councils must offer a minimum of advice, assistance and temporary accommodation to all homeless households and those at risk of homelessness. You can find out where to make your homeless application by phoning your council or looking on their website.

Living with an elderly person or someone with an underlying health condition

While you are self-isolating you should take care to stay away as much as possible from anyone in your home who is elderly or has an underlying health conditions. This will be difficult for many people who want to be with and care for their family members, but remember that it is for everyone’s safety and for as short a time as possible.

NHS Inform has detailed guidance on the steps you should take if you are self-isolating and live with an older or at risk person.

Medical emergencies

If you have a medical emergency while you are self-isolating, phone 999 and tell them you have coronavirus symptoms.

Medical treatment

If you are self-isolating you should postpone any non-essential healthcare appointments including medical, dental or optician appointments, if these are available. 

If you’re concerned or have been asked to attend an appointment while you’ve to stay at home, discuss this with your GP, local hospital or outpatient service using the number they’ve provided.


As you have to stay at home you can’t travel. You can re-arrange your travel for a date after you've self-isolated.

If you have travel insurance, contact your insurer and explain that you’ll not be able to travel for health reasons.


Staying at home for a prolonged period of time can be difficult. It can be frustrating and lonely for some people and you may feel low, particularly if you have limited room or access to outdoor space.

It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if and when you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media.

Think about things you can do during your time at home, such as cooking, reading, online learning or watching films. If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden.

When you are feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses that can help you take light exercise in your home.

If you need to speak to someone, you can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 116 123. The Samaritans also provide information on the effects of coronavirus on mental health.

You can phone Breathing Space for advice and support on 0800 83 85 87. The service is open Monday to Thursday from 6.00pm to 2.00am and Friday from 6.00pm to Monday 6.00am. 

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and you are already receiving help from your GP, phone your GP or care team first. If you are unable to talk to them, call 111. If you need an ambulance, phone 999.


Isolate and support data

We publish a monthly summary of management information provided by local authorities on support provided for self-isolation and to those in wider need during the coronavirus pandemic.

First published: 18 Feb 2021 Last updated: 2 Mar 2022 -