Calls for Scotland-wide ‘Covid census’ with tests sent to every home

The Liberal Democrats want lateral flow tests to be sent to every home before Christmas.

Calls for Scotland-wide ‘Covid census’ with tests sent to every home iStock

The Scottish Government is being urged to hold anational Covid census” in the run up to Christmas.

The Liberal Democrats want lateral flow tests to be sent to every home in the country, with mass testing conducted over a short period.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said such an exercise could be useful in the face of rising cases of the Omicron variant.

He pointed to Slovakia, where a similar exercise saw 3.6 million people tested for coronavirus over just one weekend – 97% of the eligible population of people aged between ten and 65.

The mass testing identified 38,000 new cases in two days, with a review in the British Medical Journal concluding it had contributed to a reduction in the prevalence of detected Covid-19 infections by 58%.

Cole-Hamilton said: “The pandemic has shown that the people of Scotland will always look out for one another. If the Government were to announce a national Covid census, I’m sure they would do their duty, take a test and return the results.

“This wouldn’t be that hard to undertake, census taking has moved on since the days of the nativity and it’s been tried successfully elsewhere in the world.

“I’m not going to claim this would catch every case in the country, but we have seen from other countries that it would allow us to catch and break many chains of infection and keep one another safe over the Christmas break.”

Scots are already being urged to test themselves regularly for coronavirus and use lateral flow tests before mixing with people from other households.

Cole-Hamilton said: “The First Minister says she wants everyone to take a test when they are socialising. A good way to get people into the habit would be to send tests to every household.

“We should be looking to be just as ambitious with our plans for testing as we are with our targets for booster vaccines.

“I hope the First Minister will take these suggestions on board and launch Scotland’s first national Covid census this Christmas.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As the First Minister said in her statement on Friday, lateral flow devices are easy to obtain in Scotland. They can be collected from over 1000 community pharmacies and dispensing GPs, over 60 testing sites and from many other collection points established by our local authorities under our community testing programme.

“The issues experienced in recent days with the UK Government online ordering portal relate to a restriction on the number of tests that can be posted out to households each day.

“The Scottish Government has raised this issue with the UK Government and they plan to have a solution in place this weekend that will double the number of tests that can be dispatched each day.

“We would strongly advise that people stay at home as much as possible and avoid mixing with others if they can. Where people are going out and will be in the company of others, they should take a lateral flow test immediately beforehand.”

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