'Scotland must be consulted if UK reduces Covid testing capacity', says Humza Yousaf

The Scottish health secretary has said Scotland must be consulted if the UK reduces testing capacity, ahead of Boris Johnson outlining Covid plans.

Plans to scrap self-isolation for people in England who have Covid could also be announced on Monday when the Prime Minister addresses MPs on the Covid situation.

Yet, the Scottish Government believes quarantine should remain for those with the virus alongside widespread free testing.

A new Covid strategy for Scotland is to be set out at Holyrood on Tuesday.

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish health secretary has said Scotland must be consulted if the UK reduces testing capacity, ahead of Boris Johnson outlining Covid plans for England.

However, Mr Johnson’s Monday announcement around testing could have consequences on Scotland as testing is currently procured for the whole of the UK.

Scotland’s health secretary, Humza Yousaf, has said all devolved nations must be consulted in order to ensure Covid testing remains funded.

Commenting on testing capacity issue worries on Sunday Morning, Mr Yousaf said: “Free tests and being required to isolate when testing positive are effective in addressing the virus and should remain for as long as the expert public heath advice recommends.

"We are clear that all devolved administrations must be involved in any decisions about any changes to testing.

“If we reach a point that public health advice in any part of the UK is that testing should be maintained while others end it, the UK Government must honour its commitment to ensuring they remain funded. This is crucial to ensure all part of the UK have the capability to address future variants that may emerge, which is why any decisions must be driven by public health advice.

“We are working with UK Government officials to support planning for the continuing role of testing across the four nations, that includes the ongoing role for LFD testing.”

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The Prime Minister has said his “living with Covid” plan will bring the country “towards a return to normality”.

Mr Yousaf added: "While the vaccination programme and people’s dedication has meant that the situation is improving, the pandemic is not over. Measures are only kept in place for as long as they are necessary and proportionate.

“The First Minister will set out the Scottish Government’s approach for managing COVID more sustainably and less restrictively to Parliament on 22 February with an updated strategic framework.”

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