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Coronavirus: latest news and advice

As Scotland continues to respond to Coronavirus COVID-19, advice and guidance can change quickly.

Age Scotland has compiled information for older people and their families on the latest government advice, how to avoid exposure to the virus, and what to do if you are feeling unwell.

Get the most up to date advice and guidance

You can find the latest information on coronavirus on the NHS Inform and Scottish Government websites.

Age Scotland Helpline: 0800 12 44 222

Our advisers offer information, advice, and friendship to older people, their families and carers. Call us today on 0800 12 44 222

Find out more about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Other Contacts and Resources

We've compiled a list of phone numbers and websites which you may find helpful

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a virus that causes an illness called COVID-19. It affects your lungs and airways.

For most people, it causes mild symptoms, while for others it can be more serious and may require hospital treatment.

Coronavirus Variants

All viruses can mutate and change over time. Sometimes these changes can affect the way a virus behaves, for example, becoming more infectious.

Scientists in the UK and around the world have been tracking coronavirus strains as they have emerged since March 2020. When they have evidence that a strain may have changed in ways that make it more likely to make people ill, it is officially labelled a ‘variant of concern’. The most recent variant of concern has been called Omicron.

Coronavirus symptoms

Symptoms of coronavirus, flu and common respiratory infections include:

  • continuous cough
  • high temperature, fever or chills
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
  • muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
  • not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
  • headache that's unusual or longer lasting than usual
  • sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

What to do if you develop symptoms

If you've developed symptoms, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Most people in Scotland no longer need to test for coronavirus.

If your symptoms get worse, feel unmanageable, or you feel breathless, you should contact your GP. 

If you have a medical emergency, phone 999 and tell them you have coronavirus symptoms.

Getting tested

Coronavirus tests are no longer freely available to most members of the public. 

However, you can still order free tests online or via 119 if you are: 

  • an unpaid carer
  • visiting a hospital or care home
  • eligible for covid treatments due to a health condition 
  • applying for the self-isolation support grant

Health and social care workers can continue to access free tests through their employers.

Anyone going into hospital for surgery or a procedure can also access free testing via that service.

Read more about testing on the NHS Inform website.

Reducing your risk of catching coronavirus

All covid rules and restrictions have been lifted in Scotland, but the virus has not gone away. 

To protect yourself and others, you should:

  • get the vaccine or the vaccine booster when offered
  • wash your hands regularly, and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing 
  • open windows when meeting indoors

Although there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering, the Scottish Government recommends that people continue to wear one where appropriate - for instance in indoor public spaces and on public transport.

Coronavirus vaccinations

You can find out more about the coronavirus vaccination programme and booster vaccines on NHS Inform's website.

If you need to reschedule an appointment for a vaccination, you can call the National Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 or vist the NHS Inform website

If you want to check an appointment online, you can do so using the national vaccination portal https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp 

Get the most up to date advice and guidance

The guidance about Coronavirus COVID-19 could change rapidly. You can find the latest information on the NHS Inform and Scottish Government websites.

The Age Scotland Helpline

Call our helpline on 0800 12 44 222 for free to speak to an adviser. Open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.

Help us support more older people

Demand for our vital services is increasing rapidly. Please help us to be there for older people in Scotland who desperately need us during this crisis.

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