By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour has slammed the SNP’s “summer off”, as Parliament returns amid record high Covid levels.
Today 3,893 new cases were recorded, taking the rolling weekly total to 37,968 – the highest ever recorded.
This is up by almost 80% compared to the week before.
Scottish Labour have criticised the Scottish government for letting Covid spiral out of control over the summer, the lack of resourcing for Test and Protect putting them on the verge of collapse and presiding over a stalling vaccine roll out, as well as failing to convene the Parliamentary Covid Recovery Group.
Scottish Labour’s Health and Covid Recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie, right, said: “Covid levels are spiralling out of control across Scotland as Ministers come back from their summer off.
“Instead of learning the lessons from last year, the SNP have wasted the last two months, and now we are sending pupils back to unsafe schools and unvaccinated students off to university.
“Test and Protect has been all but abandoned and the vaccine roll-out has stalled – but the Covid Recovery Group didn’t have a single meeting.
“The SNP’s attitude has been nothing short of negligent – it is little wonder cases are at an all-time high.
“We need to see some real accountability when the new parliamentary term starts, so we can get the virus back under control and keep people safe.”
|24/08/21 – 30/08/21||37,968|
|17/08/21 – 23/08/21||21,176|
Meanwhile, Ms has today called for eligible school staff to be prioritised for the COVID-19 booster vaccine.
School staff are to be treated as a priority group for the winter flu vaccine, but with the decision over the COVID jab to be made in the next few days, they are currently not included in any booster programme plan.
The call comes as COVID cases rise in Scotland following the re-opening of schools. Locally, West Dunbartonshire is experiencing record breaking case figures with cases per 100,000 people surpassing 1,000 for the first time.
Jackie Baillie said: “Staff and pupil safety must be the absolute priority. It makes little sense to prioritise school staff for the winter flu jab, but not the COVID booster.
“As the decision looms, the Scottish Government must act. All through the pandemic they have been too slow to make decisions in the interests of safety and the continuity of learning.
“The attainment impact of school closures has been immense, and there is no recognition from the Government of the scale of the challenge, far less a plan to deal with it.”
Jackie Baillie has raised new concerns about the record high COVID-19 cases in West Dunbartonshire, which has become the first local authority to surpass 1,000 cases per 100,000 of the population.
The week ending 26 August saw West Dunbartonshire positive case numbers rise to 959 with 1,085 positive cases per 100,000 of the population. This gives the area a positivity rate of 15.9% compared to Scotland’s overall rate of 12.8%.
Jackie Baillie says she has continuously called for urgent action to be taken to address these worryingly high figures.
The MSP said: “Once again our local area is breaking records when it comes to positive COVID-19 cases.
“The numbers that we are experiencing locally – and across Scotland – are cause for serious concern. The combination of schools going back and local testing hubs running out of PCR tests makes for a perfect storm.
“I urge all local people to continue to be vigilant, cautious and follow all remaining guidance including the wearing of face masks and hand washing.
“The Scottish Government must urgently work with West Dunbartonshire Council and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to tackle this rise in cases.
“They have a duty of care to protect public health and safety. They must act now to prevent any further rise in cases which can lead to serious illness and death.”