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by Jack Thomson
01 July 2021
Cases of COVID soar past 4,000 amid concerns test and trace system can't cope

Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images

Cases of COVID soar past 4,000 amid concerns test and trace system can't cope

More than 4,000 new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland amid concerns that the test and trace system is coming under severe pressure.

Labour's Jackie Baillie and Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie believe the surge in positive tests – another record high –  is an indication that Test and Protect is struggling to keep up with the spread in infections.

A total of 4,234 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by the Scottish Government in its latest update today, while a further six people with the virus have died. There are 275 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus –  16 of whom are in intensive care.

Figures from Public Health Scotland for the week ending 27 June showed that just 29 per cent of those who tested positive spoke to a contact tracer within 24 hours of it being logged on the Test and Protect system.

Additionally, 14 per cent of cases took longer than 72 hours to close, and almost 43 per cent took longer than 48 hours.

Opposition parties have called for more resources to be given to Test and Protect to deal with delays. 

Professor Jason Leitch defended the system on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme earlier today.

He said: "It's not collapsing. Not by any means. In fact there are thousands of my colleagues around the country today doing contact tracing and talking to positive cases and doing a fantastic job.

"But you can't have 4,000 cases without it straining. That's a lot."

Baillie, Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman, claimed this afternoon that the system could not cope.

She said: "Once again our test and protect system is reaching breaking point.

"Staff are working tirelessly to keep on top of the growing number of cases but the system simply cannot cope.

"It did not come as a surprise to anyone that cases would increase as restrictions lift. The government’s failure to prepare for this is a downright dereliction of duty. 

"If only the SNP spent as much time trying to improve these dismal figures as they do deciding how to spin them. Having a robust test and protect system in place is how we contain the virus in the future.

"We urgently need to put the resources in place to make sure test and protect is able to cope and bring the spread of the virus under control."

Meanwhile, Rennie said Test and Protect was "failing" and "potentially putting thousands at risk" as he called for more contact tracers. 

He said: "Plummeting performance and the decision to turn off some contact tracing activities altogether because of a shortage of capacity must set alarm bells ringing.

"With Scotland facing its highest level of infections yet, now is the time to call in the contact tracing cavalry and ensure that there are enough staff to reverse this week's collapse in contact tracing performance.

"This is the test of whether the Scottish Government has the extra staff that it promised would be available if necessary."

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