Wed 22 Apr, 2020

When those working with vulnerable people are crying out for tests, it seems incredible that we have testing labs half empty. Patrick Harvie

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should use her daily coronavirus strategy to outline the Scottish Government’s testing strategy, the Scottish Greens have said.

At yesterday’s First Minister’s Questions, Sturgeon conceded to Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie that Scotland was not using its full testing capacity. This follows repeated warnings by experts and the World Health Organisation that testing, tracing contacts and isolating positive cases is fundamental to beating the virus.

This morning the Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) tweeted health secretary Jeane Freeman asking for personal assistants for disabled people to be tested. Freeman replied: “No reason why not. Let me sort this out and get back you as quickly as I can.” This does not suggest the Scottish Government has a robust testing strategy in place.

Patrick Harvie said: “I welcome Scotland’s increased capacity to test people for coronavirus, but yesterday Nicola Sturgeon told me we’re not using this capacity to its full. When those working with vulnerable people are crying out for tests, it seems incredible that we have testing labs half empty.

“If Scotland is to implement the test, trace, isolate method experts are calling for, there needs to be a clear strategy which uses the expertise and capacity we have. I hope the First Minister can explain exactly how that will happen at her briefing.”

In response to questioning by Patrick Harvie yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are not yet using all our capacity, and we are looking carefully at that situation.“

Yesterday the Scottish Greens also raised the fact Scotland is near the bottom of the table of European countries when it comes to tests per 1,000 people. Higher than the UK as a whole, but below 18 other countries

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