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Use Scotland’s capacity and test all care homes within weeks

A campaign to test all care home staff and residents could be completed within weeks if the SNP properly used Scotland’s capacity.

The Scottish Conservatives demanded yesterday that everyone living and working in care homes should be tested for coronavirus to halt the spread which is killing hundreds of vulnerable pensioners each week.

Analysis by the party revealed there are around 53,500 staff and 36,000 residents across the country.

And with a capacity of 12,000 Covid-19 tests a day, that means a regime to test everyone could be running within weeks.

Leader Jackson Carlaw has repeatedly called on SNP ministers to improve testing in care homes.

He said the Scottish Government must take testing to these facilities – using the army if necessary – to ensure no-one is missed.

On Friday, the Scottish Conservatives revealed that – for the first two weeks of May alone – 80,000 tests went unused.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said:

“Testing every residents and staff member in care homes is a tall order, but with the capacity that currently exists it’s certainly possible.

“We want to see these 90,000 people tested for the coronavirus as a matter of urgency, and there is currently the capacity to carry out 12,000 tests a day.

“Considering the SNP government doesn’t use huge swathes of that capacity, there is clear potential for everyone who needs a test in care homes to receive one within weeks, if not days.

“Care homes are now at the forefront of this battle but, up to now, have been regarded as second-class citizens.

“The consequences of that complacency have been devastating, and the tide now needs to turn.

“In the first two weeks of May the SNP government failed to use 80,000 coronavirus tests. Those missed tests would almost cover the care home industry alone.”

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