Infection rates are on the rise again and with tell-tale signs of a second wave beginning to emerge the question that now needs to be asked is; how are we going to move on from this pandemic?
Unsettling context in the return of covid
This weekend the Premier of Victoria announced a state of disaster in the South East corner of Australia and its capital city Melbourne, unable to get coronavirus infection rates under control after rising again.
In Europe, Brussels is showing worrying signs of an increase in infections.
Last week Spain’s air bridge between the UK was abruptly closed by Boris Johnson, leaving thousands of holidaymakers in limbo and forced to face quarantine measures on their return to the UK.
Closer to home we’ve seen local lockdowns cause disarray in Leicester and the North of England.
The goal of testing
“We’re trying to interrupt the viral transmission, so if you get to the contact and if they don’t have symptoms you’ve interrupted the virus.”National Clinical Director Jason Leitch speaking to BBC Breakfast in May
When the outbreak began in March, New Zealand and South Korea were hailed for their quick, efficient and well organised testing programs which, it was felt, were one of main reasons the countries managed to keep their death rates so low.
It would be obvious to set the goal as trying to test everyone to see who has and doesn’t have coronavirus, however managing to get everyone tested is proving a challenge in itself – to date 7 per cent of the Scottish population has been tested.
Heard mentality was a tactic used in some Scandinavian countries which saw far less stringent lockdown measures put in place in a view to build resistance against the virus.
Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director for Scotland has said the UK and Scottish government’s strategy is to”interrupt” the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Leitch told the BBC in May: “The whole point is to try and break down the outbreak so you can shut it down and then you can release society a little bit more as time passes.”
The Reporter’s been in contact with members of the health service who say the goal should be to test only those who need to be tested.
Boris Johnson claimed in July the test target was to receive half a million samples a day.
Speed of testing in Scotland
Testing looks like it’s going to be part of life for a good while yet.
Records for testing in Scotland began on the 2nd of March. On the Monday, 815 tests were carried out
Up to 1st of August – almost 22 weeks – 7 per cent of the Scottish population have been tested according to government records.
In the seven days between Monday the 20th of July and Sunday the 26th of July 22,273 new people were tested for coronavirus averaging just over 3,000 a day.
Positive test results (daily)
In May, percentage of daily tests returning positive ran as high as 12 per cent. This figure had dropped by the end of the month to under 2 per cent.
In June the percentage of positive tests was under 3 per cent and by the end of the month as low 0.2 per cent daily.
In July average daily positive test results were under 0.5 per cent of all tests conducted, peaking on certain days at 0.8 per cent.
Where and who for testing
In the UK testing is being organised between the UK government and the NHS.
In Scotland you can get tested in drive-through sites operating at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Prestwick Airports, and University of the Highlands and Islands on their Inverness and Perth campus’.
You cannot be tested unless you show symptoms of coronavirus and if you have the symptoms you have up to 5 days to get tested.
Testing is prioritised into 4 groups which include, but not exhaustive:
For a detailed list of the priority groups for testing go to gov.scot.
Please be aware information and guidelines are constantly changing.
For more information on testing head to nhs.uk.