Nicola Sturgeon has been criticised over her handling of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as Health Secretary Jeane Freeman admitted Public Health Scotland officials had been unable to access the Home Office system to check on people who had flown into airports north of the border, but the issue was now being resolved. Those returning from abroad are currently required to quarantine themselves for two weeks. Jackson Carlaw was questioned on Scotland’s figures and said sadly the nation had one of “the lowest testing performance records than any country in Europe”.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Carlaw said: “We obviously went into the virus cycle several weeks later and therefore the lockdown which came much earlier in the development of coronavirus in Scotland than it did in London, where the virus initially started.
“But in terms of the actions we’ve taken, unfortunately, we’ve had a much higher percentage of deaths in care homes and we still have one of the lowest testing performance records than any country in Europe.
“There’s still a heck of a lot of work to do if we’re going to ensure that as the country starts to reopen, we are able to effectively test, trace and isolate.”
He added: “We were pretty staggered to hear at the weekend that there has been absolutely no follow-up of anybody whatsoever who had flown into a Scottish airport.
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“There seems to be yet another argument that it was much later before it was in place.
“We need to know we have that test and protect system in place.”
It comes as lockdown is being eased further in Scotland, as Nicola Sturgeon confirmed dates for indoor pubs and hairdressers to reopen and announced plans to lift restrictions on funerals and places of worship.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said the ongoing decline in the prevalence of COVID-19 means the country can move into phase three of its four-step plan to exit lockdown.
July 15 will see hairdressers, indoor pubs and restaurants re-start business and museums and galleries can also open their doors once again.
The social distancing rule will be relaxed to one metre for certain sectors, including retail, from Friday.
The First Minister also said from the same date places of worship can reopen for communal prayer, congregational services and contemplation, with restrictions on numbers, singing and chanting.
Restrictions at funerals, weddings and civil partnerships will also be eased, though wakes and receptions must continue to follow limits on household gatherings and hospitality.