Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Call for clarity as Boris Johnson pledges daily Covid tests for key workers

The Prime Minister was branded a 'threat to national security'.

A pledge by Boris Johnson to increase daily Covid testing for critical workers does not extend to more staff across key services in Scotland.

The prime minister announced around 100,000 workers will be given daily lateral flow tests in England to keep track of the spread of Omicron.

He revealed the policy in a televised briefing on Tuesday evening after a further 218,724 cases of coronavirus were reported in the UK.

The tests in England are expected to apply to people in national infrastructure, national security, transport, food distribution and processing, Border Force, police and fire services, electricity generation and test kit warehouses and surge labs.

Mr Johnson said the testing policy will come into force on Monday January 10.

Asked if the same pledge will apply north of the border, the Scottish Government only confirmed daily tests are already available to health and social care staff.

Essential staff ‘prioritised’

“The Scottish Government has already prioritised essential workers for on-site appointments at all of our test sites,” a spokesman said.

“Workplace testing using regular lateral flow tests is also available to all workplaces with more than 10 employees and we have increased the testing available to our health and social care workforces to enable daily testing in those sectors.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to give her own update on Covid in Scotland on Wednesday afternoon in a specially convened virtual meeting at Holyrood.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to confirm whether Scotland will follow England and Wales in reducing the length of time for self-isolation from 10 days to seven.

This would allow those who return a negative test on two consecutive days using lateral flow devices to end their self-isolation after a week.

The Government is acting to protect critical national services.

– Boris Johnson

The current length of isolation has been blamed for a rise in staff absences which put more pressure on business and public services over winter.

In his televised press conference, Mr Johnson said there is a chance the UK can ride out the Omicron variant without the need for another full lockdown.

He repeated a plea for everyone to get a coronavirus vaccine booster.

Key workers will need to do a lateral flow test every single day

Mr Johnson said: “The Government is acting to protect critical national services to keep supply chains open and fortify our NHS to withstand the pressures ahead.

“We’ve identified 100,000 critical workers in areas from food processing, to transport to our Border Force and from January 10 we will be rolling out lateral flow testing for all these workers available on every working day.

“We will be sending testing kits directly to these organisations and liaising with them on the logistics.”

‘Hopelessly inadequate’

The Trades Union Congress slammed the number of tests provided as “hopelessly inadequate”.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Key workers do their vital work in teams. Surgeons and nurses need cleaners and porters.

“Food supply needs producers, warehouse staff, drivers, and retailers.

“Ministers must explain who is left out, and what they should do if they can’t get tested.

“The Prime Minister has known about the shortage of tests for weeks.

“It beggars belief that he is doing so little, so late.”

Last week, Ms Sturgeon said essential workers will be prioritised for PCR test slots.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Test and Protect is also now focusing its resources on those most at risk of harm.

Most people will be contact traced by text message or email.

People who work in high-risk settings such as hospitals and care homes will be prioritised for telephone calls.

Updating parliament on December 29, Ms Sturgeon said: “The current surge in cases means testing capacity – sampling and processing – is under pressure.

“So we are now prioritising some slots for essential workers – such as NHS and transport staff – as well as for those who are clinically vulnerable or eligible for new Covid treatments.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from The Courier Scottish politics team

More from The Courier