Fri 1 May, 2020

Testing is a vital way to map and prevent the spread of the virus, which is why I have been pressing the First Minister so hard on this issue Alison Johnstone

The Scottish Government’s testing strategy has been welcomed by the Scottish Greens, but it falls short of promising the routine testing required, Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone has said.

Today’s expansion comes a week after Alison Johnstone’s proposals to initiate routine testing to all health and care workers were sent to ministers. [1]

Alison Johnstone said: “I welcome the expansion in testing capacity from the Scottish Government, but questions must be asked as to why it has taken so long to get us to this point and I’m deeply disappointed that calls for routine testing for frontline workers are still being ignored. Testing is a vital way to map and prevent the spread of the virus, which is why I have been pressing the First Minister so hard on this issue.

“I’m glad tests will now be offered to care home staff who are not showing symptoms, especially as the evidence shows pre-symptomatic carriers can transfer the virus.

“It is also encouraging that Scotland could reach the capacity to do 6,500 tests a day next week, but that capacity needs to be used. Throughout April only about half of the capacity has been used in spite of enormous demand and when those working on the front line are crying out for more testing.

“The evidence is crystal clear that weekly or fortnightly testing for carers and frontline hospital staff is essential to reduce the spread of this terrible virus. This is an approach that is already being taken in one major hospital in London, for example, and the Scottish Government must act quickly on this so we don’t look back at this decision with regret.”

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