The Big Lunch

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Ruth Davidson Ruth Davidson Conservative

Officials have been monitoring the spread of coronavirus over recent weeks and recognise that if the number of cases increases, it may have significant impact on us all, whether we work at Holyrood or in a local office or are a visitor to the Scottish Parliament. At our meeting this morning, the corporate body discussed our approach to pandemic planning and considered the options open to us in limiting exposure to the virus. The corporate body is mindful of its duties and responsibilities, including those under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, to its employees and those who work at the Parliament.

At present, our focus is on promoting hand and respiratory hygiene as the main measures in preventing the spread of the virus. Hand sanitiser dispensers have now been placed around the building to help with that.

On the two-factor identification system, while we take steps to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, it is important that we remain vigilant and do not introduce vulnerabilities into our agreed approach to security. The readers used at the entrances carry no more risk of cross-contamination than a door handle, so two-factor identification will not be suspended. For those with concerns about cross-contamination, hand sanitiser is available at each of the main entrances.

On large gatherings, other legislatures, such as the European Parliament, have chosen to stop their engagement activities and, to limit exposure to those who normally work at Holyrood, we may choose to do the same, should circumstances warrant that. The corporate body recognises that that would be done only in the most extreme circumstances and would be informed by advice from officials such as the chief medical officer.