COVID-19 - guidance for sampling and laboratory investigations

Publication Date: 26 February 2021


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Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. Clinical presentation may range from mild-to-moderate illness to pneumonia or severe acute respiratory infection.

It has been announced by the UK/Scottish Government that as of 16 March anyone developing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, however mild, should stay at home for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or date of positive test if asymptomatic, as per existing advice. In addition, it is now recommended that anyone living in the same household as a symptomatic person or a person with confirmed COVID-19 should self-isolate for 10 days.

Information on COVID-19, including stay at home advice for people who are self-isolating and their households, can be found on NHS Inform.

Further, people are advised to take physical distancing measures to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. People at extremely high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should rigorously follow physical distancing and hygiene measures. Further advice on these measures are available on NHS Inform.

Please note that this is an evolving situation and the most up to date guidanceshould always be checked on our COVID-19 page . ​

Workforce education information and resources

​Packaging samples​

This is a guidance video which outlines the correct way to package samples from suspected COVID-19 patients for Category B transport, in line with UN3373 requirements.

Obtaining an upper respiratory tract diagnostic sample

HPS, with support from stakeholders, has produced a short video clip to support colleagues required to obtain an upper respiratory tract diagnostic sample.

This resource describes the techniques involved in obtaining an upper respiratory tract COVID-19 diagnostic sample and covers the:

  • options available in relation to COVID-19-Upper respiratory tract samples
  • technique involved in obtaining a nose swab
  • technique involved in obtaining a throat swab

Resource information

Public Health Scotland
Publication type:
Guideline and Guidance


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