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Rennie calls for testing, fresh financial package and clear thresholds for new restrictions kicking in

October 21, 2020 6:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Responding to the First Minister's briefing this afternoon, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"I am really anxious about the developing situation. The government needs to be on top of this if we are to control the virus. Hospital wards are filling, cases are rising at a worrying rate and the R number is still well above 1.

"Everyone has known for months that there would be a second wave, but the government was still not ready for it. The routemap was replaced by the 16-day restriction which has now been replaced by a 23-day restriction and that is to be replaced by a new strategy next week. That's four plans in three weeks. Now even schools may close, yet the government has not built the capacity to hunt down and drive out the virus.

"There's not enough testing and results are taking too long. Tracing is too slow with hundreds waiting for more than two days. For months there were not enough quarantine spot checks. But we are where we are, so what happens next?

"First, we need the roll out of routine asymptomatic testing. The government needs to follow other countries on this.

"Second, a package of financial support to match any further restrictions. We need to keep good businesses alive and give people enough to live on if government is shutting them down.

"Third, sharing the science and the modelling with the public. We need widespread buy in if this new strategy is to work.

"Finally, a new strategy with clear thresholds for when new tiers of restrictions are brought in. People need some clarity so they can plan.

"Liberal Democrats will continue to act constructively, as we have done through the pandemic, but government needs to do its bit too."