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Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest Covid-19 updates on Friday, April 9
Last updated: Friday, 09 April, 2021, 14:02
- Freeman admits failure in understanding social care sector
- Six Covid deaths recorded in Scotland on Friday
- 285 new Covid cases reported in Scotland
Freeman admits pandemic mistakes and failure in understanding social care sector
Scotland’s outgoing Health Secretary has admitted moving patients back from hospitals into care homes during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic was a “mistake”.
Jeane Freeman said the Scottish Government had failed in “understanding the social care sector well enough” and “we didn’t take the right precautions” when older people were leaving hospitals.
Political opponents have now hit out at the retiring MSP and former nurse’s comments made in an interview on the BBC’s Politically Thinking podcast on Thursday – the day the coronavirus death toll in Scotland passed 10,000.
Ms Freeman told host Nick Robinson: “I think our failures were not understanding the social care sector well enough, so we didn’t respond quickly enough to what was needed in our care homes but also in social care in the community.
“We wanted people who didn’t need to stay in hospital any longer – because they’d been treated and were clinically well – to be discharged as quickly as possible so we freed up those beds for Covid patients.
“Remember the early predictions about the number of people going into hospital were terrifying actually.
“But we didn’t take the right precautions to make sure that older people leaving hospital, going into care homes, were as safe as they could be and that was a mistake.
“I might argue we couldn’t do anything other than we did and all of the rest of it but it still created a real problem for those older people and for others who lived in care homes – and staff who worked in care homes.”
Calls for more solutions and cheaper tests follow Government travel report
Calls for clarity, cheaper Covid testing and more solutions from the Government have followed the release of its taskforce’s findings into international travel during the pandemic.
The Global Travel Taskforce has stopped short of confirming whether foreign holidays will be permitted from May 17 or which destinations people can visit without self-isolating on their return.
Announcing the group’s findings, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did confirm a traffic light system would be used to categorise countries based on risk, but the Department for Transport says it will not be until early next month that it will decide “which countries will be on which list”.
But Mr Shapps also announced a “framework” for resuming overseas leisure travel which would require all arrivals to take pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests.
Post-arrival tests must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type which cost around £120, he revealed, despite pleas from the travel sector for the use of cheaper and faster lateral flow tests.
While Mr Shapps said the Government would work with the travel industry and private Covid testing providers to reduce the cost of foreign trips, the news drew a heated reaction from some industry figures.
Start to think about booking overseas holidays, says Shapps
People can “start to think” about booking overseas summer holidays, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The Cabinet minister said it is the first time in “many months” he was not advising against booking foreign trips.
His comments came just five days after Downing Street published a document which urged people “not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer”.
On Friday Mr Shapps announced a “framework” for the resumption of overseas leisure travel, which included requiring all arrivals to take pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests.
Post-arrival tests must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type which cost about £120, he said.
This led to a furious backlash from the travel industry, which wants travellers returning from low-risk countries to be allowed to take lateral flow tests, which are cheaper and quicker.
Asked if people could start to book foreign holidays now, Mr Shapps told Sky News: “I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time that I’ve been able to say that for many months.”
He said he was looking to “drive down the costs” of tests required for international travel to resume.