Wed 3 Feb, 2021

The fact is countries that provide more support for those in quarantine have managed to lower transmission, and Scotland should do the same Mark Ruskell

The Scottish Parliament will today debate and vote on providing universal support for people to self-isolate safely in order to drive down transmission of COVID-19.

A motion brought by the Scottish Green Party calls for action, after recent research by University College London shows compliance with self-isolation remains low, suggesting that over half asked to self-isolate didn’t do it for the recommended number of days or were not isolating at all. 

This comes amid concerns that the new South African strain of the virus has reached the UK. 

Low compliance is thought to be because people on insecure incomes are unable to take time off work or lose income, and those who live in crowded households simply don’t have the space to isolate.

The Scottish Government have said they are still ‘considering’ the use of hotels, ten months after the Greens first raised it. 

The Scottish Greens have proposed introducing universal support in the form of tailored ‘supported isolation packages’ that would include financial and practical support such as accommodation, food, and any other essential services that may be required to allow self-isolate.

Commenting, Mark Ruskell MSP, who sits on Holyrood’s COVID committee, said: “The effectiveness of test and trace hinges on the ability of people to self-isolate to limit the spread of the virus, especially considering the new strains such as the one from South Africa, which are even faster spreading. But many people are being forced into impossible choices between self-isolating and eating, or simply don’t have the physical space.

“For months the Scottish Greens have been asking the Scottish Government to use our hotel capacity to help those who do not have the financial or practical resources to self-isolate. This should be only one part of a package of support similar to what we have seen work effectively elsewhere, from New Zealand to New York.

“The UK Government must do more with our social security system too. The fact is countries that provide more support for those in quarantine have managed to lower transmission, and Scotland should do the same.”

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