Calls have been made for information to be published about the number of coronavirus tests carried out due to the high number of positive cases in Dundee.
The city has the fourth highest rate of positive cases in the UK per 100,000 people, which has been attributed to a high volume of testing by NHS Tayside.
As testing in other areas has increased, the city continues to have one of the highest numbers of total cases.
Dundee has the highest rate in Scotland and fourth in the UK, behind only Merthyr Tydfil, Denbighshire, and Rhondda Cynon Taf – all in Wales.
The city has seen 647 positive cases per 100,000 people. The only other Scottish local authority in the UK highest 10 is Midlothian, with 571.
Angus has had 394 positive cases per 100,000 people, compared to 249 in Fife and 222 in Perth and Kinross.
Calls are being made for the Scottish Government to publish more information on testing, including how many tests have been carried out at a regional level, to determine what lies behind the numbers.
Currently, the number of positive cases is broken down both by health board and local authority but regional figures for the number of tests carried out have not been made available.
Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary, called for “full transparency”.
He said: “In Tayside, the board responded to early Covid-19 exposure by boosting hospital testing, aided by the UK Government location at Perth and British Army mobile units.
“Official figures show more positive cases in areas of higher population concentration than in sparsely populated areas.
“Some of that will be to do with access to testing but until this is backed up by hard evidence about the total number of tests actually carried out, it is impossible to say for certain.
“It is vital that we see full transparency and publication of the data involved, not just for positive tests, to help ensure the public can have full confidence in SNP ministers and the policies they are implementing.”
Dr Daniel Chandler, consultant in public health medicine for NHS Tayside, said the health board has tested “many more” key workers than elsewhere in Scotland but there is no publicly available data to show this.
He said: “It would be incorrect to conclude from this data that Dundee City is something of a hot spot compared to other places in the UK for COVID-19 cases.
“The higher rate of positive results in the health board area is very easily explained by the fact that NHS Tayside made a very early decision to proactively begin extensive staff testing on March 17.
“Because of this, NHS Tayside tested many more staff and household members from NHS, social work, care homes, first responders and other key workers.
“We would expect to see similar proportions of positive tests in other Board areas if they had tested staff at the same level as NHS Tayside from the early stages of the pandemic.
“The number of cases currently being reported in Tayside is very low with only 13 new cases in the last three weeks. This reflects the efforts of the local population in continuing to follow the national guidance, as well as the ongoing commitment of our health and social care services to maintain public health measures which limit the spread of the virus.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Test and Protect has been fully initiated in all 14 health boards, including NHS Tayside, and there is sufficient testing capacity within the health board to carry out all the appropriate testing that is required.”
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe