SNP accused of failing to monitor app as thousands of potential Covid carriers missed

Sturgeon says new variant is ‘dominant’ in Scotland

Figures showed fewer than half of those using NHS Scotland’s Covid-19 app who tested positive for the virus had entered the code to alert other users that they should self isolate. The Scottish Government data revealed that up to December 10th, 27,239 codes were issued, but only 11,549 were uploaded.

The Protect Scotland app was launched in September and ensures those who test positive for COVID-19 are able to inform close contacts.

After testing positive, app users are sent a six-digit code which they should enter.

This will inform any close contacts that they should self-isolate.

Without entering this code, which many users are not doing, no close contacts will be informed.

Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservatives Health spokesperson said the blame lies with the SNP.

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He added: “This app is a key tool in Scotland’s fight against Covid but yet again we learn of another serious problem.

“While the SNP government blames the behaviour of users, surely it is incumbent on them to have built an app that does the job it’s supposed to do.

“This is far too important to get wrong and it is no exaggeration to say that lives could be lost as a result.

“What is also concerning is the failure of the First Minister to be upfront with people.

“She has a regular TV platform to impart public health information about the pandemic yet far too often fails to disclose key information such as this.”

However, the Scottish Government insisted the app was being monitored constantly.

A spokesperson added: “It is recognised that not all those who tested positive entered a test code into the app to enable anonymous notifications to be issued to other app users who may have been in contact.

“The upload success rate is consistent with other nations who use similar technology and contact tracing apps.

“We encourage as many people as possible to upload their test result code through the contract tracing interviews and the figure quoted includes repeat requests for test codes.”

Meanwhile, updating MSPs on the vaccine rollout on Wednesday, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said all those in the first five priority groups – 1.4 million people including those aged over 65 and those who are “extremely vulnerable” – should receive their first dose by the beginning of March.

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Ms Freeman said the Scottish Government hopes to scale up its delivery of vaccinations to 400,000 a week by the end of February.

A total of 191,965 people have now received their first dose and 2,990 have also had their second jab, she said.

However, Ms Freeman was questioned by Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton who claimed Scotland’s “stockpile” of nearly 200,000 doses is currently in storage in Bedford and he asked why they are not in circulation.

Ms Freeman said it is “quite wrong” to suggest doses are being stockpiled and they are distributed based on what health boards or GP practices say they need on given weeks.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had admitted “healthy competition” between Scotland and England could speed up the Covid vaccine roll-out.

She stressed the two countries striving to be the first to vaccinate their adult population may not be a “bad thing as it makes us all run faster.”

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