Scottish Labour is calling on the First Minister to put a beefed-up testing system – including mass asymptomatic community testing – at the centre of her plan for lifting Covid-19 restrictions.
Scottish Labour believes we need a new testing strategy that delivers:
- Asymptomatic community testing across every local authority, and across all of Scotland’s major cities
- Continued routine testing for health and social care staff
- A testing plan for airports and genomic sequencing of all tests of incoming travellers to identify new variants
- Contingency plans for surge and doorstep testing should new variants be identified
- A targeting of testing capacity to workplaces and industries that are key to the economy and/or where social distancing is more difficult, such as schools, manufacturing and construction
- Routine testing of all identified contacts of positive cases, e.g. twice during their self-isolation period
- Lateral flow testing to support the return of large public events
Scottish Labour interim leader Jackie Baillie said: “Scottish Labour has long made the case that the route through and out of the pandemic will depend on following international advice and hunting down the virus with testing. Infection rates are now being driven down by a combination of lockdown measures and the roll out of the vaccine – but keeping infection rates low will depend on rapidly identifying and containing any outbreaks. That is why we are calling for a renewed emphasis on testing – including asymptomatic community testing on a mass scale.
“The SNP government has so far failed to maximise the use of Scotland’s testing capacity. New announcements on testing of contacts and community testing are welcome – but the roll-out has been far too slow. Weeks after the First Minister announced the government would be expanding testing, there is little urgency about making this a reality on the ground. The First Minister and the Health Secretary need to get a grip – testing will be key to helping to control the virus and allowing the economy to open up again.”