More than 700 Scots traced under new Covid testing regime

The First Minister said contact tracing has been completed on 481 positive coronavirus cases.

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More than 700 people in Scotland have been traced as contacts of a coronavirus case since the new ‘test and protect’ system was brought in.

A total of 741 Scots have been traced since the new mass testing regime began in May 28 up until June 7, according to the Scottish Government.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said 681 positive Covid-19 cases had been reported in that period.

Of those, the process of contact tracing had been completed on 481 people with a Covid infection.

That amounts to an average of 1.5 contacts traced for every infected person.

Those who are contacted could, if deemed necessary, be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

On Tuesday, the First Minister cautioned the number of positive cases that would be published in the ‘test and protect’ report would not “completely match our daily testing figures”.

This is because of positive test results from the regional drive-through centres in Scotland co-ordinated by the UK Government, with samples taken to the Glasgow Lighthouse super-lab rather than NHS labs.

According to the official figures, just 333 positive coronavirus cases were reported between May 28 and June 7 – less than half the figure of 681 cited by the FM.

Sturgeon also said there had been a further 12 cases of the virus confirmed in Scotland overnight, taking the total this week to just 48.

A total of 987 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a drop of 24 in the last day, with 18 of those in intensive care, down three.

But she announced a further 12 deaths of people with the virus, taking the death toll including confirmed and presumed cases to 4019.

On ‘test and protect’, the First Minister said the new data around the initiative would become “much more detailed” in the weeks ahead.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The average number of people traced for each positive case reflects that we are still in phase one of lifting lockdown restrictions and people should not be mixing with large numbers of people outside of their own household.

“I would encourage anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 to come forward as early as possible and get a test immediately to help us suppress the spread of the virus.

“Contact tracing is one part of our work to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Physical distancing and good hand and cough hygiene continues to play a vital role in helping to minimise the spread of infection.”

A policy of testing all suspected cases of the virus was abandoned in March when all four nations of the UK moved to the second “delay phase” of its coronavirus strategy, against the advice of the World Health Organisation.

But since May 28, anyone who shows symptoms of the virus – a fever, a persistent cough or a loss of sense of smell – is asked to immediately book a test through the NHS Inform website or by calling NHS 24 on 0800 028 2816.

They should self-isolate from when they develop symptoms up until they get their test results, along with everyone in their household.

If they test positive, they will then have all their contacts traced and they will all be told to self-isolate for 14 days.

Scots who are tested for coronavirus in NHS labs should have their results back within 24 hours, or 48 at the most.