Nicola Sturgeon's new 'unsustainable' rules could force tens of thousands of Scots a day to isolate, Ross says

Scottish Conservative leader criticises the First Minister's new policy which means if one person tests positive for Covid-19, all members of their household have to isolate – even if they go on to test negative for the virus

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New rules on self-isolation are “unsustainable”, Nicola Sturgeon has been told, with Tories saying changes to the guidance could see tens of thousands of people a day being told to stay at home.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross challenged the First Minister on a new policy introduced on Saturday, which means if just one person tests positive for Covid-19, all members of their household have to isolate – even if they go on to test negative for the virus.

Ms Sturgeon changed the requirements for self-isolation in the face of what she said was a “tsunami” of cases of the new Omicron variant.

But Mr Ross raised concerns that it could have a knock-on impact on key services – including the drive to administer more booster vaccines.

He questioned Ms Sturgeon about the policy, saying: “A single positive case could lead to a household of potentially four or five people having to isolate for that entire 10-day period, even if they tested negative.”

The Scottish Tory leader added: “We agree with the need for caution, but at the level of cases the government is expecting by next week this rule change could means tens of thousands of Scots put into self isolation every single day.

“We don’t believe this policy is sustainable, it could have knock on consequences, it could impact our transport services, police, schools, workplaces across the country, even our vaccination programme.”

He called on the First Minister to “outline the science and data behind the change” – which Ms Sturgeon said had been brought in following clinical advice on the increased transmissibility of Omicron.

As a result, she said: “Releasing people from isolation in a household when they test negative is not as safe as it could be, because testing negative one day with this virus does not mean you will test negative the next day, that is the basis of this advice.”

She pledged that the requirements on self-isolation would be kept under review, with the First Minister saying the Government had “already started looking at when we might migrate away from that towards something that is more proportionate”.

She added: “This is about taking appropriate steps now, but being flexible as we think it is safe to do so to move to more proportionate arrangements in the future.”