New statistics included in the COVID-19 Statistical Report published yesterday by Public Health Scotland revealed only 6.8% of those required to quarantine in Scotland have been successfully contacted by a contact tracer.
The report confirms that between 22nd June and 16th August, 151,0008 people arrive in Scotland. 36,826 of these arrivals were required by Scottish government rules to quarantine, however contract tracers in the nation only successfully contacted 2,498 of these people. 686 additional people were recorded as "unable to contact".
Jeane Freeman, the Scottish Health Secretary, told the Scottish Parliament that "it is my understanding...that our staff, our officials at Public Health Scotland, are reaching that 20%".
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:
These new statistics reveal staggering failures in the Scottish Government's quarantine tracing system. Less than 7% of those coming into Scotland who are supposed to be quaranting have successfully been contacted by a tracer.
This system is widely missing the mark and people are vulnerable as a result.
The Justice Secretary made up the numbers of people in quarantine being checked a few weeks ago, now the Health Secretary doesn’t have a clue whether they are being checked at all.
20% of visitors required to quarantine are supposed to be contacted but the government hasn't even reached half of that since the end of June and substantial numbers of those cannot be tracked down at all.
quarantine is important to stop infection from those countries that have higher rates so this performance is extremely worrying.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said:
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Public Health Scotland contact 100% of people who are required to quarantine by email and then follow up a random sample of these through telephone calls to establish if they need any information, guidance or other support.
We have previously said that Public Health Scotland would make contact with around 20% of travellers, up to a maximum of 450 per week – which is considered to be a suitable and robust sample size.
We are currently exceeding that figure with around 600 contacts per week.
If the National Contact Tracing Centre is unable to make contact with an individual following a number of attempts, then their details are passed to Police Scotland who will continue with the follow-up process to engage, explain, encourage, and enforce the law, where necessary.
We are continuing to work closely with Public Health Scotland and the National Contact Tracing Capacity to increase resources and ensure performance can be maintained as demands increase in line with the lifting of lockdown.