Following in the bilious wake of the Scotsman and Reporting Scotland yesterday, the Holyrood Magazine’s Louise Wilson, formerly BBC Scotland and followed on twitter by Monica Lennon and Lisa Summers, somehow misses these facts:
“Mass testing is a scandalous waste of money,” said Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Newcastle University. “When the prevalence rate of coronavirus falls as low as it is at the moment then an increasing proportion of cases are likely to be false positives meaning that cases and contacts will self isolate unnecessarily.” Prof Pollock said it is likely that mass testing “is going to do more harm than good” and there had been no evaluation of mass testing programmes by the government.
The rapid test kits most widely used in UK universities, schools, and care homes detect just 48.89% of covid-19 infections in asymptomatic people when compared with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, real world data from the Liverpool pilot have shown.
Instead, we get this entirely one-sided, wrong, unchallenged propaganda from Jackie Baillie:
Calls have been made to increase the rate of COVID testing in Scotland to match the offer in England as the UK Government has announced twice weekly testing. Rapid lateral flow tests are to be made available for free south of the border from Friday. The tests, which provide a result within 30 minutes, will be available from pharmacies for use at home, even for people without symptoms. It is hoped this will help to suppress COVID-19 levels as lockdown restrictions start to ease. But in Scotland the tests are only available in limited settings, for example in schools and at high-risk workplaces. Scottish Labour has called for access to be improved to ensure transmission chains can be broken.
Deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “The WHO said the key to tackling COVID was test, test, test. In response the SNP has been slow, slow, slow. “Scotland needs the same access to twice weekly mass testing as we will now see in England – and the Scottish Government is responsible for the failure to deliver it. “It is testing alongside our vaccine rollout that will stop our route out of the pandemic slipping backwards. Scotland deserves better than this haphazard approach to lockdown exit.”