Covid-19 in Scotland: Thousands who test positive unable to be contacted – BBC News

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionThe Scottish government has been urging the public to co-operate with the Test and Protect system

Contact tracers have been unable to get in touch with 3,500 people who tested positive for coronavirus in Scotland.

Public Health Scotland said the figure was 6% of those who were confirmed with the virus since the end of June.

The first minister said a "small minority" of people had refused to answer their phones to contact tracers and it was not a failure of the system.

Opposition parties said it showed Test and Protect was not working as well as it should.

They also posed more questions about a "coding error" that led to the number of people who were contacted within 24 hours of testing positive being overestimated.

The Scottish Conservatives accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of attempting to "bury" the error in order to hide the fact that Scotland had missed World Health Organisation (WHO) contact tracing targets for eight consecutive weeks.

  • 'Coding error' in Test and Protect figures

Ms Sturgeon responded by repeatedly insisting that the country's contact tracing system was working well and was now exceeding international standards.

The exchanges at first minister's questions came as Ms Sturgeon said a further 45 people had died after testing positive for the virus, bringing the total by that measure to 3,188.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the government needed to "get a grip" on contact tracing as he highlighted that 3,512 people who had tested positive had been unable to be contacted by test and protect staff since 22 June.

There were also 9,252 close contacts of people who had tested positive who tracers were unable to contact.

Mr Leonard also said that over that period a third of contacts were not being traced within 72 hours, which he said showed the "disconnect between the first minister's parliamentary pronouncements and what is happening out there in the real world".

Mr Leonard asked: "Is the first minister seriously telling Scotland that this shows Test and Protect is working well?

"Isn't it showing it is desperately short of resources and that the government needs to get a grip?"