Alex Cole-Hamilton calls for contact tracing instead of vaccine passports

The Scottish Government is being being urged to ditch plans for coronavirus vaccine passports and focus instead on an emergency recruitment campaign to bolster the “broken” contact tracing system.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton made the plea to ministers ahead of Thursday’s debate on new Scottish Government plans to make coronavirus vaccine certificates a requirement of entry for nightclubs and some other large events.

Both the Lib Dems and Labour have already vowed to vote against the proposals when they come before MSPs at Holyrood.

Meanwhile, Mr Cole-Hamilton insisted that the Scottish Government should be focusing on recruiting more staff to the Test and Protect contact tracing scheme, to help it cope in the wake of surging numbers of infections.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf recently announced contact tracers will only call those people who test positive for Covid-19 if they have been in a “high risk” setting, such as a hospital or have travelled abroad.

Others will instead be contacted by text message and asked to provide details of close contacts online.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said, however, that research by his party had found that people were still waiting up to a week to be interviewed after testing positive.

He claimed: “The contact tracing system is broken. Scottish Liberal Democrats have been warning about the Test and Protect meltdown all summer long, and our research found positive cases waiting up to a week to be interviewed.

“Ministers should be recruiting more people, not cutting contact tracing down. Alongside vaccines, this is the single most important tool we have to stop people catching Covid.”

He insisted: “There needs to be an emergency recruitment drive, and ministers should spend their time fixing this instead of working on distractions like Covid ID cards. It needs fixed, now.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992