Sat 26 Sep, 2020

It’s time to step up Scotland’s own efforts to tackle the virus, provide regular testing for all our at-risk frontline staff and roll out the latest 15-minute tests for all. Scotland could be testing 100,000 people a day if we did this Alison Johnstone

The Scottish Greens have written to Nicola Sturgeon with proposals to move to mass testing in Scotland to step up the fight against COVID-19.

The five-point plan includes stepping up the use of NHS Labs to improve access to testing and introduce regular testing for front line staff – something the Scottish Greens have been calling for since April.

It also proposes rolling out new point-of-care tests to everyone as a way of quickly identifying and suppressing the virus so that restrictions don’t have to last longer than needed.

These moves could allow Scotland to test up to 100,000 people a day.

Commenting, Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone said: “The Scottish Greens have been consistent throughout this crisis that a robust testing regime must form the basis of Scotland’s response to the virus.

“Now, with cases rising rapidly and the privatised UK-wide testing system failing to keep up, the case for mass testing is stronger than ever. The more data we have about who has the virus and where it is spreading, the sooner we can take action to reduce or better target the restrictions that can harm people’s liberty, mental health and economic prospects.

“I understand Scotland’s NHS testing labs remain underused while we place the burden on the failing UK-wide system. That is the wrong way round. It’s time to step up Scotland’s own efforts to tackle the virus, provide regular testing for all our at-risk frontline staff and roll out the latest 15-minute tests for all. Scotland could be testing 100,000 people a day if we did this. The short-term cost of this would be more than worth the benefits of the country being able to recover.”

Five point plan:

1.Weekly testing for NHS and care staff

2.Weekly testing for teachers and school staff 3.Easier access for university students and staff 4.Access to asymptomatic testing for other frontline staff, e.g retail and hospitality 5.Procure and distribute point-of-care tests to all

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