Health secretary Humza Yousaf accused of 'not trusting own rules' after self isolating over positive Covid case

Health secretary Humza Yousaf has been accused of “not trusting his own rules” after it emerged he is voluntarily self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid – despite not being deemed a close contact by the contact tracing service.

The minister was not named as a close contact by Test and Protect after contact with the same person as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who was isolating on Sunday while waiting for results of a PCR test.

She revealed on Monday morning her test had been negative, allowing her to end her isolation.

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However, despite not being instructed to isolate, Mr Yousaf decided to do so as a precaution, pulling out of his engagements on Monday, including his planned visit to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to officially open Scotland’s Major Trauma Centre for the South East.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and health secretary Humza Yousaf visited the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank, near Glasgow together last week. Picture: PA

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Under the latest Scottish Government contact tracing rules, only those who are deemed very close contacts to a positive person need to self-isolate. If they have been double vaccinated, or are under 18, they can leave isolation after a negative PCR test.

However, critics warned Mr Yousaf’s decision cast doubt on whether the Scottish Government’s current policies are safe – questioning whether if Mr Yousaf does not trust Test and Protect’s systems to decide if he is likely to be at risk of passing on the infection, why the public should feel confident to do so.

Scottish Labour’s health and Covid recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “This speaks to the complete chaos at the heart of the SNP’s Covid response. If the health secretary himself doesn’t trust his own rules to keep people safe, it is difficult for anyone else to do so.

“With Covid cases spiralling to record levels it is more important than ever that we have clear and effective advice. The SNP need to make their mind up about what’s safe and put in place adequate levels of resource to support the staff in delivering a robust Test and Protect system.”

On Sunday night, Ms Sturgeon tweeted she had received notification she had been identified as a close contact of someone who was positive for Covid and was isolating, pending the result of a PCR test.

However, on Monday morning, she wrote her test had been negative, but that she would continue to take lateral flow tests “as a precaution”.

Ms Sturgeon posted: “Relieved to report that my PCR test is negative. Coupled with fact I’m double vaccinated – with second dose more than 2 weeks ago – that means I no longer need to isolate.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said both Ms Sturgeon and Mr Yousaf had received negative PCR tests.

He said: “The First Minister had to isolate after being identified as coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19.

“While the health secretary was not a close contact of that person, he chose to cancel his public engagement to a hospital, where he would have come into contact with health and social care workers, as a precautionary measure based on public health advice, until he and the First Minister could receive the results of PCR tests, given his proximity to the First Minister.

"The Cabinet secretary for health has received his PCR test result and has tested negative.”

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