Coronavirus ‘Test and Protect’ system is a vital step forward – leader comment

The Scottish Government’s new strategy in the fight against Covid-19 is belated but the right thing to do – if we all stick to the rules.
A drive-through testing centre at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow (Picture: John Devlin)A drive-through testing centre at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow (Picture: John Devlin)
A drive-through testing centre at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow (Picture: John Devlin)

Three months after the World Health Organisation urged countries to “immediately” expand their ability to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus, Scotland will finally begin its new “Test and Protect” strategy tomorrow.

Germany and South Korea have already demonstrated, for all the world to see, just how effective this approach is in dealing with this deadly virus. There is no doubt that it has saved lives in both those countries and that it could have saved lives here too. Instead, Scotland and the rest of the UK are struggling to cope with one of the worst outbreaks in the world.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, our political leaders’ correct decision to impose a strict lockdown has clearly curtailed the spread of the virus and helped to buy time for testing capacity to be increased to the point where it can now be offered to the public on a mass scale.

Read More
Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s “Test and Protect” strategy to be launched on Thursd...

Under the new system, those who develop symptoms will be able to be tested for the disease and then anyone they have been in contact with will be asked to self-isolate. According to the Scottish Government, this is “designed to break chains of transmission” of the virus in the community and “will help us to gradually change the restrictions that help to suppress the virus, and instead to contain it, so that society and the economy can avoid a return to lockdown and adapt to a new normal”.

Just as Scotland responded well to the imposition of the lockdown, we must now sign up to this new way of fighting the virus. It will remain vital to heed the official government advice – no matter what we might think of Nicola Sturgeon or Boris Johnson. And no one should suppose that Dominic Cummings’ 260-mile lockdown escapade is any justification for not following the rules, regardless of whether he is sacked or not. Test and Protect will save lives and it will also enable our economy to start to get back on its feet. It is, as such, surely the ultimate ‘no-brainer’.

The First Minister stressed the importance of working with the new system, saying “this is a big thing, it really matters” and she is absolutely right.

There are few times in life when our character is truly tested. Have no doubt that a call from a contact tracer with a request to self-isolate is one of them. So, for the sake of the lives of our fellow citizens and for our economy, we must all resolve to do our duty if the call comes.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.