Northern Isles MSPs, Beatrice Wishart and Liam McArthur, have asked the Scottish Government to address the “unique hurdles” that islands communities will face as demand for testing expends with the government’s ‘Test and Protect’ rollout.
The Scottish Government’s contact tracing system will be rolled out nationally later this week. Where confirmed cases of covid-19 are identified, this system will trace contacts so that all those thought to be at risk can self-isolate in order to suppress the spread of the virus.
During her statement yesterday (Tuesday), the First Minister said that tests would be available: “at one of the drive through testing centres or mobile testing units. For some, there will also be the option of a home testing kit.”
She also noted that “We will also continue to build testing capacity and make access to testing more locally accessible.”
Commenting, Beatrice Wishart MSP said:
“The islands face unique hurdles when it comes to accessing testing, and local capacity has to be available.
“Amongst all the uncertainty, about all that is clear is that testing and tracing are key to how we ease out of the lockdown. We need to be sure that tests will be locally available for everyone who needs one, ahead of time, and that people don’t have to wait days for the results .”
Liam McArthur MSP continued:
“If positive tests are going to be the trigger for action to suppress the virus, adequate local testing and tracing are going to be critical. Without it, there is a risk of delay and failing to keep the virus in sight.
“As we move to ‘Test and Protect’, the demand for tests will inevitably rise significantly. Local provision must keep pace with that demand, so Ministers need to take steps now to ensure that happens.”