Richard Leonard praised ambulance crews, NHS and social care workers.

By Bill Heaney

Labour leader Richard Leonard has urged Scotland’s parliamentarians to forget about having an Easter recess and to make testing for the virus a priority in Scotland.

He expressed to the families who have lost loved ones through Covid-19 in the last few days.

Mr Leonard added: “At a time of national emergency, we think that this national Parliament should not go into Easter recess but should continue to scrutinise what is happening in the midst of this emergency.

“We think that that is our job, and we genuinely think that that is what the people who sent us here would want us to do. Therefore, I ask all parties to consider whether we should go into recess. We do not think that we should.”

He said: ““I pay tribute again to all NHS and social care workers, not just for what they have done, but for what they are about to do. Nobody knows what the future holds—it is unwritten—but one thing is certain. We will all be reliant for our health and our safety, and some even for our lives, on their skills and their judgment. We will all be forever in their debt.

“That is why, now more than ever, we must give them our total and unflinching support and must recognise and exercise our full duty of care to them, as they exercise their duty of care to us.

“We must listen to their calls and give them the best personal protective equipment when they need it, which is now. We must give them the reassurance of access to testing when they have any symptoms. Also, because many of them are working in the community—home care workers, community nurses, ambulance crews—I ask, indeed implore, the First Minister to give them an undertaking that she will reconsider the case for community testing.

“It is the case that was made by the World Health Organization: the case for community testing and then tracing and tracking to help slow down the spread of the virus and to keep people safe. Will the First Minister hear that call?”

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