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01/03/20 06:00

Preparations for COVID-19

Scotland stands ready for potential outbreak.

The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland are well-prepared to deal with a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and are working with the UK Government, Wales and Northern Ireland to publish a coordinated response.

In the coming days the four nations will jointly publish an updated action plan on the response of the health care system and the public to coronavirus. The document will outline the steps that will be taken to manage coronavirus if there is a sustained epidemic.

The Scottish Government is also participating in the UK wide launch of an updated public information campaign this week. It will feature posters and social media adverts to reinforce the importance of hand-washing, for 20 seconds or more with water and soap, to prevent the spread of the virus.

In addition, the Scottish Government has:

• stood up its Resilience Room (SGoRR) with both Ministers and officials meeting regularly to ensure the country is prepared
• participated and engaged in UK Government COBR activity
• developed emergency regulations to ensure coronavirus is a notifiable disease
• implemented a training programme and trained Scottish Ambulance Service staff to support the transport of patients that may be infectious
• established two laboratories in Scotland (Glasgow and Edinburgh) to manage an increase in testing
• delivered face masks to GP practices as a precautionary measure
• developed and issued guidance to clinicians as well as sector specific information to schools, universities, ports and airports to ensure members of the public are alerted to the latest clinical information
• established a dedicated helpline within NHS 24 to provide members of the public with the opportunity to receive information and discuss concerns
• developed an online resource via NHS Inform that can be accessed 24/7

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“In Scotland we have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues and while all tests have so far come back negative, it is highly likely that we will see a positive case soon as coronavirus continues to spread around the world.

“As part of our efforts we are working with the UK Government, Wales and Northern Ireland to publish a coordinated response in the coming days.

“Staff across the Scottish Government, its agencies and key partners are stepping up work to deal with the potential consequences of a coronavirus outbreak. This includes prioritising key activity to keep Scotland running should the situation change, but also to ensure that all sectors can play their part in managing the response.

“Led by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, our clinicians and Health Protection Scotland are working closely with their counterparts across the UK to guarantee a consistent and joined up approach.

“We will continue to ensure we are as prepared as possible for the likelihood of coronavirus cases in Scotland and will continue to work with health boards, local authorities and other governments across the UK in ensuring that plans and preparations are in place to respond.”

Background
Guidance and information, including links to guidance for travellers and the general public, can also be found on HPS’ COVID-19 page.

The latest numbers of test results are published at 2pm each day on the Scottish Government website.

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • high temperature or fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

Updates on public health advice for coronavirus can be found on the NHS Inform website, and a free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.

For anyone who is planning to travel abroad, guidance can be found on fitfortravel. Where a COVID-19 risk is identified, country pages will be updated.