Nicola Sturgeon: Test and protect requires ’sacrifices’
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Figures released by Scotland’s Test and Protect system reveal 36,766 contact tracing cases took longer than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target of 72 hours to complete. Around a third of those came in the last three weeks, including 7,029 in the week ending July 4, the highest figure on record.
Revised figures for the same week also found just 54.3 percent of contacts were reached within the three-day window, the worst performance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to an original estimate of 73.1 percent.
Opposition parties in Holyrood have accused the SNP led Scottish Government of presiding over a chaotic test and trace system.
Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour deputy leader, said: “Today’s statistics have revealed just how badly Test and Protect has been functioning, despite the best efforts of the staff.
“Any improvements in the functioning of the system are to be welcomed but to be frank the system is still in disarray.”
“It is obvious that the corner-cutting that the government has instructed Test and Protect to follow has led to substantially fewer contacts being reached.
“The government is playing fast and loose with the safety of the people of Scotland.”
Annie Wells MSP, Scottish Tory health spokesman, said: “The SNP took their eye off the ball and have been playing catch-up in trying to trace the further spread of the virus.
“Now they are shamefully trying to cut corners in a bid to meet critical targets.”
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In response, Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf admitted Scotland’s contact tracing system has come under “extreme pressure” due to the recent spike in cases.
But he denied claims from opposition parties that the system had “cut corners” in order to improve turnaround times.
Addressing journalists today, the senior Nat, said: “There’s no doubt there’s been extreme pressure on the Test and Protect system, there’s no getting away from that.
“It hasn’t performed to the standards we would have liked it to perform, completely understandable given the record number of cases.
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“The action we’ve taken has seen an improvement now in terms of contact tracing numbers.
“Still shy of the WHO 80 percent mark, we’re getting very, very close to it.
“I would expect when next week’s figures come out there’s an even better improvement than the week before.”
It comes after Scottish Government ministers last month ordered contact tracers to use a shortened interview script focused on high-risk cases.
Mr Yousaf claimed opposition parties have been making “mischief” around the issue, adding: “Any decisions, for example, to shorten scripts – it’s not me that writes the script or decides what the script looks like, it’s really determined by Public Health Scotland.
“What we do we do for good clinical reasons.
“Test and Protect continues to evolve as time goes on throughout the course of the pandemic.”
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