Wed 4 Nov, 2020

if Liverpool can apply blanket testing and countries of a similar size to Scotland can commit to testing everyone, then Scotland can do the same in the areas where the virus is widespread Mark Ruskell

Mass testing should be built into the COVID framework so that everyone gets tested for COVID-19 in areas placed in Tier Four restrictions, the Scottish Greens have said. 

The call comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs of the Scottish Parliament’s COVID committee that current situation was “fragile”.

She told MSPs: “We need to see infection rates decline significantly.”

Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell raised the fact that Liverpool has moved to blanket testing to accurately identify the virus and isolate those infected, and called for the same to be trialled in Lanarkshire, then built into the Tier system.

Commenting, Mark Ruskell said: “The First Minister suggested Scotland might struggle with capacity, but if Liverpool can apply blanket testing and countries of a similar size to Scotland can commit to testing everyone, then Scotland can do the same in the areas where the virus is widespread. 

“The Scottish Greens have been clear throughout this crisis that Scotland needs to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation and test more people, especially because the virus can be spread before symptoms appear. 

“The Tier system is an opportunity to target testing on the areas of Scotland where the virus is out of control. People in those areas who will be most restricted in their activity deserve to know that the Government is doing everything it can to suppress the virus there, so that those restrictions don’t need to last longer than needed.”

Mark Ruskell also raised widening the scope of support for those self-isolating. 

Afterwards, he said: “Current support is only available for those on benefits, but this leaves those on poor pay and insecure work faced with a choice between self-isolating or surviving. This presents a clear challenge to attempts to stop the virus spreading, so the Scottish Government must evolve and widen the support available.”

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