Official health guidance - what you need to know

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is a highly contagious virus. Generally, it is less serious in children and people under 60 - if parents and children get it, it is usually very mild. However, it is very contagious and more severe in older people and people who already have health problems so it is important not to risk them becoming infected too.

It is important to keep yourself up to date.

The best place to do this is NHS Inform which has clear information and is updated regularly.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of the Coronavirus are:

  • a new continuous cough and/or
  • a fever/high temperature and/or
  • a change in, or loss of, taste or smell.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

You should:

  • stay at home
  • wear a mask or face covering
  • avoid crowded places
  • clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • stay two metres away from other people
  • self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)

Currently all of mainland Scotland is in lockdown, with some islands in Level 3. You can check which rules and regulations apply in your area here.

There's more about what the current guidance says you can do on our Staying safe and protecting others page.

To stay safe and well it's important to follow these hygiene practices:

You and any of your children aged over five must wear a face mask to go on public transport or into a shop.

 Wash your hands regularly:

  • after going to the toilet
  • before meals
  • when you come in from outside
  • after coughing and sneezing

Also make sure you all use tissues to sneeze or cough into and throw them away afterwards.

When will I get the vaccine?

The vaccination programme is now being rolled out throughout Scotland. The vaccine protects you against getting seriously ill with Covid-19.

Older people have priority for the vaccine. Many older people have now been vaccinated, and people aged 16 -64 with underlying conditions are now being offered the vaccine.

This Spring everybody over 16 will be offered the vaccine. 

You don't have to do anything - the NHS will contact you when it's time for your vaccination.

The vaccination is free on the NHS - you will never be asked to pay. (Do not share your bank details with anyone asking you for a fee)

You can find the answers to your questions about getting the vaccine at NHS Inform

What should I do if I think I have Coronavirus?

If you’ve developed symptoms (however mild) stay at home and self-isolate; arrange to be tested. Only leave the house to be tested. Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital. 

You should remain at home until you get the result of the test, and then follow the advice you will be given based on the result.

Read NHS Inform's stay at home guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection.

@NHS24 and the 111 phone line are very busy, so

  • use nhsinform.scot as your first source of information
  • if you have mild symptoms you do not need to call. You need to stay home and get well. Fluids, rest and paracetamol.

Unless your symptoms are severe or get worse, there is no need to phone 111.

How to help your children deal with the Coronavirus

Many of us are feeling anxious about the virus, including our children. It is important to talk to children and reassure them. There's some good advice out there about how to talk to children about  Coronavirus.

Official guidance in easy read formats and different languages

The Scottish Commission on Learning Disabilities has information about the Cornavirus in easy read format for people with learning disabilities.

The UK Government has produced information in easy read formats and a variety of different languages.