From a young BBC Scotland reporter, in the coronavirus briefing today:
Matt Hancock has said that he’ll ration testing in England. Given that you’re responsible for deciding who gets tested in Scotland’s allocation how do you prioritise that. For example. is it routine testing for care home staff or is it symptomatic people in hot-spots in the community?
So, getting the idea for a question from the UK minister and what happens in England, is becoming all-too-common, as we’ll see with subsequent questions. This tells you something, something disappointing, in the focus of a reporter based in Scotland. Are they keeping up with events here?
Second, and more worrying, ‘How do you prioritise that?‘ These are the words of a foreign correspondent. Have you checked first to see it that is already published? The First Minister is patient and forgiving, in a way that I would not have been with a student. She says quietly with no trace of sarcasm:
We already have a prioritising for testing. It’s set out in our testing strategy. We set that out publicly.
Here it is. It took me 5 seconds:
Published: 17 Aug 2020 13:29
Testing approach adapts as prevalence changes.
The Scottish Government has published its updated Testing Strategy setting out the role testing continues to play in tackling coronavirus (COVID-19).
The strategy focuses on a number of key areas of testing:
- whole population testing of anyone with symptoms (Test & Protect)
- proactive case finding by testing contacts and testing in outbreaks
- protecting the vulnerable and preventing outbreaks in high risk settings by routine testing
- testing for direct patient care, to diagnose and to treat, and to support safe patient care as NHS services restart
- surveillance to understand the disease, track prevalence, understand transmission and monitor key sectors
A key development to strengthen surveillance work and help prevent the spread of the virus will be for all contacts of COVID-19 index cases to be offered testing regardless of whether they have symptoms. At present, recent close contacts of those people with a positive test result, are asked to isolate for 14 days. While they will still have to do this, they will now also be advised to get a test, allowing for further contacts to be identified and potential, wider outbreaks contained.
Is it stupidity, arrogance, both?