Critical staff to be allowed self-isolation exemption under SNP Government plans

Some NHS and supermarket supply chain staff will be exempt from self-isolation rules over fears the “pingdemic” is harming the economy.

Critical workers will be able to apply for an exemption, but one of the conditions is they will have to agree to undertake daily lateral flow tests.

Close contacts of people who test positive for covid currently have to self-isolate for ten days, but high infection levels have put pressure on the NHS and led to empty supermarket shelves.

In a bid to address the crisis, the SNP Government will allow some staff to be able to apply for an exemption where shortages are in danger of putting essential services a risk.

As first revealed by the Daily Record, relevant sectors include health and social care, transport, and the provision of food supplies at risk.

Strict conditions will apply, such as the staff being double-vaccinated and in receipt of their second dose at least two weeks previously.

A negative PCR test will also have to be taken and they will have to agree to undertake daily lateral flow tests.

Applications may be made via the Scottish Government website. Exemptions will be made on a temporary basis.

Health, social care and local services will have a different process.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is essential that lifeline services and critical national infrastructure are maintained and we are implementing these changes now – ahead of possible changes to self-isolation rules for close contacts that may apply more generally in future – to ensure staff shortages do not put key services at risk.

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“We have seen significant staff shortages in a small number of organisations in recent days and we have worked with them to protect services. Applications for exemptions are being considered from today and we will consider applications as they come in.

“Clinical evidence tells us we can safely and effectively release some critical staff from self-isolation, with appropriate safeguards. However, this is a very limited change at this stage, to be applied on a case by case basis and only where absolutely necessary.

“We will not allow key services to be threatened by staff shortages but equally we must continue to protect public health.”

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