Everyone aged five and over, who has developed virus symptoms such as continuous cough, temperature or impaired senses of taste or smell, should contact NHS Inform online or call 0800 028 2816 to arrange a test.
The system also requires people to isolate with their household as soon as they have symptoms, and in the event of testing positive they will also have to provide details of all recent close contacts. Those people will then be asked to isolate for two weeks.
Guidance for employers and individuals has been published to inform them what to do if someone displays symptoms or if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, including how to help older people or those with underlying health issues.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The aim of Test and Protect is to protect the public from spreading Covid-19 and to protect the country from a second peak.
“By ensuring those who may have come into contact with the virus take steps to isolate, we can break the chains of transmission and keep the virus suppressed whilst slowly changing lockdown measures.
“This approach can only work if we all play our part. From Thursday, we are asking everyone aged five and over who has Covid-19 symptoms – a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell – to book a test as soon as possible.
“It is important to do this as soon as symptoms are suspected. The quicker the virus can be identified, the better chance there is of stopping it spreading.
“It remains vital that alongside Test and Protect people continue to follow physical distancing advice and practise good hand and cough hygiene.”
Councillor Stuart Currie is COSLA’s health spokesman. He said: “Covid-19 continues to have an impact on all of our daily lives and it is important that we carefully manage the transition out of lockdown. That is why we welcome the Test and Protect guidance that has been co-produced by Scottish Government and NHS Scotland in partnership with local government.
“It is vital that people work together to follow this advice and self-isolate when required, not just for their own safety, but in order to protect others. Only by taking this approach will we be able to slow the spread of the virus.
“Local government has already been at the forefront of efforts to support people during lockdown, providing essential services and assistance to the many people in Scotland who don’t have a network of support in place. We will continue to support our communities by taking a central role in the delivery of Test and Protect.”