A Scottish Tory minister in the UK Government has tested positive for coronavirus, sending close contacts including party leader Douglas Ross into self-isolation.
David Duguid, the MP for Banff and Buchan, took the test as a precaution after recent cases at his children’s school. He had been on business in Peterhead and in London in recent days.
The result was confirmed by the Scotland Office shortly after the Conservative Party revealed Mr Ross had been asked to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.
Mr Ross, the MP for Moray, is also an MSP for the Highlands and Islands, and had been in the Scottish Parliament when he was told about the contact.
The pair had been together, with others, during a visit to Peterhead in Mr Duguid’s Westminster constituency two days earlier.
Great to visit Peterhead today with @david_duguid to speak to Simon and Stephen from @PeterheadPort and Sandy from the Peterhead Fisherman's Mission to hear how they have dealt with the effects of the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/CNvUYpBKvH
— Douglas Ross MP MSP (@Douglas4Moray) May 31, 2021
A number of other MSPs and staff were advised to take tests while Holyrood officials were telling some people to go home as a precaution.
In a statement on Mr Duguid’s result, a UK Government spokesperson said: “Minister Duguid is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. He took a test as a precaution at a local UK Government test centre. He has notified those he was in close contact with.”
Mr Duguid is feeling well and is not showing symptoms. The Scotland Office said he has not been in physical contact with any other Scotland Office minister, including secretary of state Alister Jack, for more than a week.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, Mr Ross was told by text message he’d been in contact with someone who had tested positive.
Mr Ross, whose wife is pregnant, decided to self-isolate at the Edinburgh hotel he has been staying in while a test was arranged. The hotel was made aware.
Five members of staff and four MSPs were also planning to take Covid tests as a precaution.
A further two MSPs from another party were informed they may wish to take a test as a precaution.
Not contacted by Test and Protect
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, the Scottish Parliament confirmed staff had been sent home.
Officials had been given a list of potential close contacts from this week.
Holyrood deputy chief executive Michelle Hegarty confirmed Mr Ross had not yet been contacted by Test and Protect and parliament wanted to be “proactive”.
“Mr Ross has provided us with a list of those people that he believes may be regarded as close contacts of his while at Parliament during Tuesday and Wednesday morning,” she said in an email to staff.
“Whilst it would normally be for the Test & Protect service to advise individuals following a positive test, Parliament officials have decided to take a highly proactive and precautionary approach and have today contacted those identified by Mr Ross.”
“We are advised the chances of any transmission to these secondary contacts is very low. However on the advice of the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian’s Health Protection Team we have recommended that those contacted by us take a Covid 19 test and work from home until the results are known.”