Scotland needs “mass testing in all our communities” to control the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns, Jackie Baillie has said.
At First Minister’s Questions, the interim Scottish Labour leader said the Scottish Government was “still only in the planning phase” of community testing despite pilots last year which uncovered hundreds of asymptomatic cases.
Scottish Labour interim leader Jackie Baillie said: “We’ve known for some time that the First Minister’s symptom-led approach to testing is not enough to control the virus. South Korea and Germany have been using PCR tests for months to find asymptomatic carriers. Even now, in England, nearly 1 in every 100 people are tested daily for Covid-19.”
When the First Minister suggested that higher rates of testing would indicate that there are more symptomatic patients, Ms Baillie responded: “Exactly the point I’m making is that the testing capacity that is there should be used for asymptomatic testing.”
Ms Baillie concluded: “Eleven months into this pandemic this Government has been slow to test, slow to trace, slow to support people who are self-isolating.
“Whilst the vaccine gives us hope, experts tell us that Covid will be here for some time to come.
“To lift current restrictions and not end up in a third wave, and another lockdown, we need a functioning test, trace and isolate system. That is not what we have in Scotland today.”