COVID-19 advice - Scotland

Last updated on: 12 January 2021

Each of the devolved nations has its own approach to handling the COVID-19 crisis. Here you’ll find the specific details for people living in Scotland.

We’re regularly updating our coronavirus information to ensure you have the most up-to-date and relevant content available.


From 5 January, mainland Scotland will be in temporary lockdown. Some islands will remain in tier 3

For the latest information on what you can and cannot do, check the guidance on Gov Scot website.

COVID-19 vaccines

There’s a UK-wide plan to prioritise certain groups to be vaccinated first. Read more about priority groups.

The vaccination rollout has started with healthcare workers, care home residents and staff and those with certain clinical conditions.

Vaccinations are taking place differently across Scotland to reflect the needs of local communities.

People considered ‘clinically extremely vulnerable' have the same priority as people aged 70 and over. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have it.

For general information about the coronavirus vaccine and its delivery, phone 0800 030 8013 (available 8.00am to 8.00pm, 7 days a week).

Read the latest guidance: COVID-19 vaccines - your questions answered. For further information specific to Scotland, check the NHS Inform Scot website.

Shielding advice

The Scottish government is recommending that you follow the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable to help protect yourself and others. For more details on the risk groups and protection levels, read the Gov Scot website information on the highest risk group.

To stay safe, you should strictly follow physical distancing and hygiene measures.

The Shielding SMS service and the national helpline are available. For more information on support if you've been on a shielding list.

Read the shielding information on the Gov Scot website.

Taking extra care and strict social distancing

If you are in the extremely vulnerable group and do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by maintaining strict social distancing. This includes:

  • Keeping two metres away from people not in your household or support bubble and avoid face to face contact. Check out the please give me space website.
  • Working from home
  • Washing your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser outside your home if you’ve touched other surfaces

Meeting other people and social distancing

Read more about meeting other people and the local protection levels on the Gov Scot website

Social distancing means staying at home except for a few specific purposes. These include work (if you can’t work at home), exercise, collecting food or medical supplies, receiving essential healthcare or providing care for someone vulnerable.

When you do need to leave your home try, wherever possible, to keep at least two metres from anyone who is not a member of your own household.

Hygiene is also important. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds using soap and water; when these aren’t readily available, use a hand sanitiser gel instead.

What about face masks?

Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and are compulsory by law in shops. 

Face coverings should not be used in place of physical distancing and good hygiene. And surgical or clinical-grade masks should not be used by the general public.

Rules about exercise

You should exercise as close as possible to your own home, avoiding unnecessary travel. However, you can travel if you need to in order to exercise somewhere that’s safe for you – for example, if you need to go somewhere that’s accessible by wheelchair.


You should self-isolate if you or somebody else in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus. This means not leaving your home for any reason and not having visitors unless it’s for essential medical care. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – book a test online to arrange. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You’ll need to arrange for food and essential supplies to be delivered and these should be left at your door to minimise contact with the delivery person.

Read the Gov Scot website guidance on self-isolating.

More support

NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect is a free, mobile phone app designed to help us protect each other and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

You can use the Viral Kindness website to find help in your local community including with food shopping and deliveries

There’s a national helpline number 0800 111 4000 you can use if you’re over 70, have a disability, are pregnant, receive mental health support or if you’re entitled to a flu jab because of an existing medical condition. The helpline will be able to connect you to appropriate services in your area.

Staying safe at work

Read the latest guidance for employers and employees to keep safe in the workplace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is also available at

Check out our dedicated resources about COVID-19 - employment and work.

Keep updated

If you’re feeling isolated from family and friends during these uncertain times, we’re here for you. Find out more about the support available in your area.

Stay in touch and follow us on Scotland Versus Arthritis Facebook and Scotland Versus Arthritis Twitter.

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