Lockdown exit strategy must be prepared

Although lockdown must continue for the time being, the Scottish Government should begin to prepare an exit strategy for lifting restrictions safely in the future, the Scottish Greens have said.

Lockdown and social isolating is likely to last for several more weeks, and experts have told the Scottish Greens that Scotland will only be able to start to lift restrictions safely if it has the capacity in place to test, trace and isolate those with symptoms and people they have been in contact with.

This was also central to the advice today from the World Health Organisation’s briefing.

Nicola Sturgeon committed to such a strategy at virtual FMQs today under questioning by Alison Johnstone MSP, but stopped short of confirming whether Scotland has the capacity to implement it.

The Scottish Greens health spokesperson and parliamentary co-leader said: “It is absolutely right that lockdown should continue to keep us safe, but in this fourth week, many will understandably be starting to feel cooped up and isolated. People need to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and a clear exit strategy to get us there.

“The scientific advice is clear. Swift deployment of a test-trace-isolate strategy is the only way we will be able come out of lockdown in the future and prevent further virus peaks. Scotland must build the capacity to do this now. That means the ability to test everyone with symptoms and trace all the people they have been in contact with.

“It is vital we follow scientific advice and look at what has been done in the countries that are now beginning to drop restrictions.”