Changes to self-isolation and testing requirements are to be introduced from midnight to maximise capacity amid surging cases.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the changes in a briefing before parliament today (Wednesday).
She said the impact of Omicron, which has seen cases increase by 87 per cent in the past week, with one in 20 people now thought to have Covid, required a new approach.
Ms Sturgeon also highlighted the impact of Covid and self-isolation requirements on the NHS as well as other critical services and the economy.
The changes will mean anyone who tests positive can end self-isolation after seven days, rather than 10, if they have no fever and record two negative lateral flow tests.
Close contacts of positive cases, including households, will also be able to avoid self-isolating as long as they are fully vaccinated, including with a booster dose, or are aged under 18. For these groups, self-isolation will be replaced with the requirement to take a negative lateral flow test every day for seven days.
The third change means anyone who tests positive with a lateral flow test, but has no symptoms, will no longer be asked to book a PCR test. Instead they must isolate immediately and report the results online so contact tracing can begin.
People with Covid symptoms should still book a PCR test.
Ms Sturgeon said the changes had been considered carefully on the basis of expert advice.
She said they would maximise testing capacity and ensure a speedier start to contact tracing.
“This stage of the pandemic is possibly the most challenging so far,” she said.
Ms Sturgeon urged people to get boosted.
No new restrictions have been introduced. However, Ms Sturgeon said the current requirements, including restrictions on large gatherings would likely remain in place until at least 17th January.
Children returning to secondary school have been told to take a lateral flow test before their first day back and then twice weekly.
Students returning to university have also been told to get tested before returning to their term time accommodation.