Greens: Self isolation key to success of test and trace

The test and trace system to drive down in infections of the Coronavirus will only be effective if people are supported to self-isolate safely, the Scottish Greens have warned.

Scottish Greens have raised the need for further financial and practical support to self-isolate since last March, and in December wrote to the First Minister with examples of where this has been successful, such as in New York and New Zealand. 

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions again, but Nicola Sturgeon repeated that the use of hotel accommodation to help people self-isolate ‘will be considered’.

Commenting, Patrick Harvie said: “For months the Scottish Greens have been warning that many people simply cannot self-isolate safely - not just because of income, but because of things like physical space, the risk of losing their jobs, caring responsibilities, and more.

“It’s frustrating that the First Minister claims she is still only considering such measures, especially while compliance remains low and public health experts have repeatedly said this will be a vital part of reducing the spread of the virus.”

“It’s clear that both Scottish and UK Governments need to take a far more proactive approach to supporting people to self-isolate if we’re going to effectively tackle the virus.”

Mr Harvie also raised the issue of students still being forced to pay for student accommodation they cannot use, despite being granted the right to terminate leases in Coronavirus emergency legislation last year after pressure from the Scottish Greens.

This issue was raised in the NUS Scotland student survey today, which revealed one in seven students feel locked into tenancy agreements they cannot get out of.

Patrick Harvie said: “Greens ensured students would have the right to end their leases early if they were leaving their accommodation due to COVID-related disruption, and the Scottish Government must ensure this right is upheld.”