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We're not out of the woods yes... MSPs urge caution

WE'RE inching along the roadmap to recovery, but we're not out of the woods yet. That's the message from Colin Smyth, South Scotland MSP, who is urging members of the public to heed NHS Scotland's Test and Protect guidance, now lockdown measures have eased slightly. Scottish Government guidance remains to stay at home as much as possible, apply social distancing and maintain good hygiene. The Labour MSP said: "Since Friday, our NHS has ramped up the Test and Protect programme which is aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19.. “As we move into the first week after lockdown measures were slightly eased, I am urging members of the public first and foremost to follow Scottish Government guidance around social distancing, maintaining good hygiene and still staying at home as much as possible. “People need to act responsibly, use common sense and remember that this pandemic has killed many people in our region and ultimately saving lives is the most important consideration in everything we do. “The NHS has now brought the Test and Protect system into operation, this public health measure is designed to break the chain of transmission of Covid-19, so it is vitally important that people follow the rules. “If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 (a new, continuous cough; high temperature; loss of or change in, sense of smell or taste), in the first instance you must self-isolate at home and contact the NHS to arrange to be tested. “You can make an appointment online but importantly, if you do not have access to the internet, you can call 0800 028 2816 for help and assistance. The NHS will then talk you through the next steps, where the test will take place and what you should do. “I would also urge everyone to consider talking to friends and relatives, from a safe social distance, to ensure those who do not use mobile phones or computers know the new guidelines and have the number to call. “We are not out of the woods yet where this terrible virus is concerned but by being vigilant we can hopefully stop it spreading any further." Meanwhile Emma Harper, South Scotland SNP MSP, asked Health Secretary Jeane Freeman about Test and Trace during one of Holyrood's virtual committee sessions. Miss Harper said: “I was reassured to know that the Test and Protect contact tracing campaign has been piloted successfully across NHS Fife, NHS Highland and NHS Lanarkshire and is now being rolled out across the rest of Scotland including Dumfries and Galloway. To the best of my knowledge contact tracing across the region has been running successfully. “It was also reassuring to hear that information used by NHS Scotland contact tracers will be safely and securely gathered as part of the Coronavirus Test and Protect approach”. Finlay Carson, Tory MSP for Galloway and Dumfries West has hailed the financial support for Scotland from the UK Government. “Now we see just how extraordinary that support has been from the UK Government to the tune of over £10 billion." He is also hoping self-catering accommodation can be among the first to reopen safely, delivering a big boost to the area's economy. The Scottish Government puts self-catering properties alongside other accommodation in Phase 3 of their recovery roadmap, rather than Phase 2. He is also lobbying for caravan parks to re-open in Phase 2 as well. “Self-catering accommodation is hugely important in rural constituencies such as mine. “Throughout this crisis, they have been seeking greater support and it was extremely disappointing when they were left out of initial grant support. “They should not be listed alongside other accommodation providers in easing out of lockdown at Phase 3 which has been proposed. “I have already heard from many providers that this means they are not able to take bookings for the vital summer period which is another blow on top of the income they have already lost in recent months. “Caravan parks also come into this category who I am also lobbying hard to be re-opened sooner than is currently planned. “They are vital to the rural economy in terms of providing jobs and they remain in complete limbo about whether or not if they will have any sort of summer season. “Self-catering providers without shared facilities should be re-opened sooner in Phase 2, as has been outlined in other parts of the UK in order to allow these owners to start generating some level of income again.”

<< back Published: 03 Jun 2020, 09:45

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