Scotland is not considering further reducing the self-isolation period for those who contract Covid-19, the health secretary has confirmed.
UK Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi backs dropping England’s isolation from seven days to five in a bid to reduce staffing shortages.
But Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the Scottish Government is “not contemplating” such a move at this time.
However, he confirmed the matter would be kept under review going forward.
On Thursday the isolation period in Scotland was cut from 10 days to seven, the last of the UK nations to do so.
Under the new rules, people who test positive for Covid-19 can leave isolation if they have no fever and record two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.
‘Guided by the science’
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Sunday, Mr Yousaf said it had already been a risky move for the Scottish Government to cut isolation to a week.
He said: “The reason why we have made that decision – and it’s important to say that the UK nations all moved at a different pace on this – is that it’s not a risk-free option.
“It’s not that there isn’t a risk attached with going from 10 days to seven days, there is a risk.
“It’s just that we wanted time to consider whether or not we would, inadvertently, for example, accelerate the transmission of the virus by cutting that isolation period.”
The health secretary said the Scottish Government is intending to keep the matter under review, adding “we’re not contemplating at this stage going from seven days to five”.
He added: “We’ve literally just made the change from 10 days to seven days. I think it’d be sensible to see the impact and the effect of that.
“But, clearly, we’re always guided by the science.”
Mr Zahawi told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday that reducing the isolation period further to five days would “certainly help mitigate some of the pressures on schools, on critical workforce and others”.
He added: “I would absolutely be driven by advice from the experts, the scientists, on whether we should move to five days from seven days.
“What you don’t want is to create the wrong outcome by higher levels of infection.”
Nicola Sturgeon stressed earlier this week that changing the Covid-19 self-isolation rules in Scotland was not a sign that the government was “giving up” on controlling the virus.