Tourists returning from Spain ‘more likely to have caused second wave’

The Herald’s Health Correspondent writes today:

Test and Protect took more than 72 hours to trace the contacts for more than 8,600 cases between August and October, increasing the risk of the virus spreading. Scientists from the SAGE advisory group warned in May that “any delay beyond 48-72 hours total before isolation of contacts results in a significant impact on R” – the reproductive rate of the virus.

Those 8 600, or 700 per week, represent a tiny 3.5% of the 20 000 tested every day, and include, of course, the 3 512 who won’t answer their phones to the NHS.

In quite a comprehensive account with, down the page, evidence that Scotland’s system is performing very well, ‘far exceeding‘ the World Health Organisation’s standard of 80% of cases closed within 72 hours and, last week hitting 95.8%, there’s no sign of the headline claim.

Monica Lennon, Labour Health Spokeswoman, suggested home visits for those who won’t answer their phones to the contact tracing teams but no one other than the Herald’s Helen McArdle seems to be making the claim that these missed cases could have driven the second wave.

She should pass that notion before the eyes of profs Sridhar or Bauld, or the WHO.

With 80% of the cases in Scotland genetically linked to a Spanish form of the virus, I think we know where the second wave came from – hundreds or thousands of folk returning from there and not quarantining:

Research from scientists in Switzerland, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, has revealed that a new variant of coronavirus, known as 20A.EU1, appears to have cropped up in Spain during the summer and has since spread to multiple European countries, including the UK. “In Wales and Scotland the variant was at 80% in mid-September, whereas frequencies in Switzerland and England were around 50% at that time,” the authors said.

15 thoughts on “Tourists returning from Spain ‘more likely to have caused second wave’

  1. ‘Health correspondent’ might sound good, but it’s not the same as health professional, no matter how much the Herald tries to talk up(!) their story tellers.
    Dread to think if the ScotGov were doing things the same as EngGov, what the situation would be now in Scotland. The mere thought sends a shiver down the spine for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They are doing things exactly the same as in england. Which is why we have a higher death rate than in the USA, where State governments are responsible, not the Federal one.

      NS is a killer. Two chances to close the border and she refused. Almost 0 cases for over a month from July through August, yet she needed to start the infections going to stay out of prison.

      So we have enforced wearing of masks and people back to being shut in their houses again. All to maintain the lie that we’re fighting a deadly epidemic, when the death rate for the whole population is approaching that of ordinary Influenza, and that for those under 60 is far far less.

      You are supposed to be a doctor. “FIRST DO NO HARM!” Do you remember that, or are you the Harold Shipman kind?


      1. NS
        Does not have any powers that allow any form of control whatsoever over any border whatsoever
        Full Stop


  2. Some people, a minority, disobeying the rules and guidelines can spread the virus. Including some businesses not behaving responsibly. They should be shut down by the local authorities. Not encouraged to break the rules by unionist political parties for donations.

    Why on earth some people want to go on (foreign) holiday during a pandemic is a mystery. Especially not taking precautions. Just stay closer to home and safe for now. It might be a better option. To not spread the virus and stay alive. To protect their families and others. It is a silent killer.

    Totally unlawful unionist parties breaking the rules. Then encouraging others to do the same. Including MSM encouraging people to disobey the rules and guidelines, for donations. Tax evasion, Rules and regulations put in place to save people’s lives. They are there to be followed and for people to isolate. Not switching their phones off so they cannot be contacted. Or do not isolate.

    Most people are responsible. Until a vaccine can be implemented. Hopefully soon. Medical science, free movement, migrants saving the world again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What do migrants have to do with it? Apart from bringing their horrible diseases with them when they flood into a country and overwhelm the native population?


  3. Some interesting remarks in this piece in the BMJ exploring the weaknesses in the UK government’s approach to testing, tracing and isolating.

    “The government’s long awaited programme is missing a vital aspect of successful contact tracing, public health experts warn, as well as being beset by delays—and it may widen health inequalities. Richard Vize reports….

    …..”Delays at every stage
    One of the biggest challenges with test and trace is that delays inevitably hamper every stage: …

    ….The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, has promised that test results—except those from samples returned by post—will be turned around in 24 hours by the end of June,4 but anecdotal evidence suggests that two or three days is currently more typical.

    At the health and social care select committee on 3 June, Dido Harding, head of the test and trace programme, was unable to give data on what proportion of tests were turned around within 24 hours or what proportion of contacts of infected people had been contacted within 24 hours and asked to self-isolate. However, she said that over 90% of people waiting for test results had received them within 48 hours.

    The committee chair, Jeremy Hunt, warned that a lack of data could “destroy confidence” in test and trace. He made clear his expectation that the total time from a person being tested to receiving a positive test, their contacts being submitted, and those contacts being asked to self-isolate should be only 48 hours.5”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah but they have all omitted to check that the legislation that was passed regards contact tracing and in particular for people arriving from other countries on the travel ban list
    And basically here it is
    1.Only and only 48 hrs prior departure do you have online access to health questionnaire for completion.All in order to obtain a QR code to enable you to travel and enter the UK
    Your carrier is obliged to inform you of such
    And provide you a link to gain access
    2.On the form you must complete
    A.Your home address were you may actually be contacted by the police if you fail to respond to any calls, e mail or SMS from track and trace .All details you submit on the form can be passed to the police if you fail to respond within 48 hrs of track and trace
    Attempting to contact you
    3. Within the online form to be completed there are compulsory information you must impart and they are
    Your carrier and their reference
    Your point of departure
    Any other country you have visited other than the one you departing from
    Your time of departure and arrival
    If you have or will visit any other countries
    Prior your UK arrival
    Your contact not then someone else who has access to you, and ditto for email and their address
    Your E mail address
    Where you will be self isolating
    Are you intending to reside at any other place prior to arriving home from your trip
    You must provide if flying home
    Your carrier
    Your booking reference
    Your flight no.
    Your seat no.
    Your departure time
    Your arrival time
    And your passport no.
    The Airline who are carrying you MUST inform you of
    1.If you not a UK passport holder then they reserve the right to refuse boarding if you do not have the QR code which can only be given
    Upon successful completion of the online Health questionnaire
    But if you are allowed to board then You will experience considerable delay at Border control and may be refused entry
    2.If you hold a UK passport and do not have the QR code then you can board but may be subject to considerable delay at Border Control
    When your passport is scanned prior boarding and upon arrival .The scanner automatically knows your QR code
    And if you do not have the QR code you have major problems continuing with your journey

    My wife and I recently returned from Spain
    And as previously told on here Track and Trace were in contact 36 hrs after arrival
    The Mobile of my wife was switched off on the 1 st time they tried to contact her
    So a text was sent to her and my phone
    Along with a e.mail to our respective addresses
    And a voice mail was left on her phone
    All the communications had a free call back contact as sooner as possible along with the caveat that if you failed to respond
    Then as obliged by law then your details
    Would be passed to the police
    So please tell me what else can the government do here in a liberal democracy
    The system set up is efficient and fit for purpose especially if track and trace make contact with you
    Personally during our 14 days of quarantine
    They made contact with and spoke to both of us on 4 separate occs.
    Asking if we OK And getting on well enough with isolation and if we required any assistance
    All the personnel from Scottish track and trace who spoke to us are so obviously carefully selected at recruitment and well trained
    No doubt because they are direct government employees
    One can but only wonder as to what the case is in England regards these matters as such is the remit of Private contractors
    So it is more than reasonable to know why Scotland has a high track/trace/isolate rate of success
    Whilst England continues to fail miserably

    Oh by the way as of 11th of November no one can enter Spain without a covid negative PCpenalty up to 72 hrs prior arrival
    If you do arrive without one then a automatic
    6000 € penalty and serious implications for any courier or airline who allowed you to travel with them
    Time similar was introduced here instead of the Airports and Unionist side attempting to get the Scottish Government pay for testing at Airports

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes they just wave you through but the scanner knows from your passport no
        You have the QR code
        Which in our case was downloaded on our mobiles and that is why they just wave you thru


  5. I wonder if a knock on the door from someone in a fluorescent pink vest (noticeable and not confused with other services). possibly over a Hazmat suit, would work. If nothing else, at least the neighbours would know to avoid people who should be isolating.

    I’d expect a warning to be issued first, to give them time to respond in the preferred way. That way their human rights wouldn’t be infringed, but neither would those of the people who have a right not to be infected.

    Still think NZ has the best idea – and it might help hotels get some revenue. Of course, that works better if you’re independent and in control of your own borders…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, iusedtobeenglish, I am old enough to remember QUARANTINE NOTICES being pasted on doors during a scarlet fever outbreak in our village. These stated NO ENTRY. People understood the seriousness of the disease and the notices reinforced their understanding. Similar notices could be put on doors of people quarantining after arrival from abroad. This would help to discourage them from ignoring their responsibilities to the rest of society.


      1. “People understood the seriousness of the disease and the notices reinforced their understanding.”

        In fairness to the general public, I’ve been thinking recently that part of the problem may be that this is no longer the case.

        It’s been a long time since things like isolation and absolutely rigid hygiene were the only defences we’ve had against a disease. Whole generations have been brought up in an age where there’s been an antibiotic for it. I remember going to my GP in the late 70s re post-flu(ish) episode and saying “well, there was no use coming before. What could you have done? It’s a virus”. And him saying “thank God for someone who understands that! I’m worn out with arguing that there’s no point giving an antibiotic to treat a virus.”

        Maybe – if they’re going to scare people anyway – it’d be better to admit that medicine is in the same position with CV19 as it was 100 years ago with TB, polio etc. So we have to act the way the public did 100 years ago. It’s all we have at the moment.


  6. This has force and honesty. Will it make any difference? Why is the Scottish nedia (sic) not interested in how the UK government handles covid19? Does the virus stop at the border?

    “Both the media and our profession appear complicit in allowing systematic misinformation, egregious miscalculation, delay, and diversion of public funds, to benefit private companies. We all want to pull together in a collective effort and we are wary of rocking the boat. But there comes a point when being silent (and being polite is a kind of silence) becomes part of the problem….

    …..The national Test and Trace is a disaster. Its design means that it cannot possibly contain outbreaks of covid-19. It is obsessed with testing at the expense of all the other necessary links in the chain of actions needed to control outbreaks. It fails to detect asymptomatic people and those who are unwilling or unable to be tested and it ignores false negatives. This means that before it starts, it has potentially missed up to 80% of those who are infectious. It then loses cases at each of the stages of informing the index case, collecting information on contacts, reaching those contacts, and then persuading them to self-isolate. Probably less than 20% of those advised will effectively self-isolate. The national Test and Trace fails dismally to find cases at the start of the process and then fails dismally at the other end of the process in supporting people through the difficulties encountered in trying to effectively self-isolate. It is likely that less than 5% of the contacts of those who are currently infectious with covid-19 self-isolate effectively. We as tax payers are paying billions of pounds for this failure.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think this is an interesting post.

    From what P1UK says above I guess there is a good chance Scotland collects “core data”.

    “Compared to the 3-weeks beginning 23 July 2020, referrals to NHS Test and Trace trebled during 27 August to 16 September 2020 as 45,702 people with confirmed coronavirus symptoms (that is: symptomatic index cases) were referred to NHS Test and Trace. [2] NHS Test and Trace reached 37,026 of them, but only 30,714 (67%) identified any close contacts. Of 177,566 identified close contacts, only 131,808 (74%) were asked to self-isolate. Moreover, only 56% were asked to self-isolate within 24 hours of their non-complex symptomatic index case having been referred to NHS Test and Trace. Hence, fewer than 3 in 10 close contacts are asked to self-isolate within 24 hours of their symptomatic index cases being transferred to NHS Test and Trace. [3] But the infectiousness clock starts ticking from two days before the index case developed coronavirus symptoms….

    ….”The core data we need:

    The symptom-onset date for each symptomatic index case, not just the swab-date or referral-date to NHS Test and Trace.

    Why? First, because it is from two days before the symptom-onset date that the index case is asked to recall and identify all their external close contacts. Second, because the quarantine period for each external close contact begins from their most recent close encounter with the symptomatic index case, which may have been as early as two days before the index case’s symptom-onset date.

    Three key dates for each identified external close contact—the date of their most recent close contact with the index case, the date when the close contact was reached by NHS Test and Trace, and the end-date of the close contact’s quarantine.

    Why? Because, for external close contacts (b) reached by NHS Test and Trace, the number of days that they are asked to “self-isolate” depends on how quickly the service reached them and may be fewer than 14 days for that reason alone.

    A key performance indicator for NHS Test and Trace is therefore the number of “self-isolated days” (out of a possible 14 days) that each identified external close contact is asked to comply with. For identified external close contacts who are never reached, that number is zero.

    The number of household members (a) and of external close contacts (b) of symptomatic index cases who develop coronavirus symptoms and have positive swab tests.

    England’s Test and Trace service should know, if it holds the core data outlined above, when the intended quarantine period ends for the majority of its high-risk group members. But NHS Test and Trace also needs to ensure that the person-identifying information held on members of its high-risk groups (for 28 days only) matches the information that is held about people who have developed symptoms and got a positive swab test.

    This matching requirement is elementary to state, but tricky to deliver. England lacks a personal identifier, unlike in Denmark. Scotland’s use of Community Health Index numbers helps out Test and Protect.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Students are being fined £30 for partying,

    The latest increased virus strain had reportedly come from Spain and Spanish travel, The restrictions are not preventing the risk of travel to certain parts, A holiday is not worse a death. It is a silent killer. People should follow the rules and guidelines to keep the deaths down. Not have their fun and pay for it. By someone else’s death.


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