Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 1st December 2020.

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The First Minister:

I and Cabinet colleagues have looked at very detailed data on Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire over today and the past number of days. We can do that because test and protect and the tracing system are working well—we would not have that information if that were not the case. However, we need to better understand and have a degree of certainty about whether those cases that we believe are largely associated with particular outbreaks—members will be aware of some of the outbreaks that we are talking about, such as those in food processing—can be contained and have not resulted in wider community transmission. Given the economic and social implications of a move up a level, I have asked that a bit more work is done on that.

In Fife and Angus, which are areas that were moved up a level some weeks ago, the situation is improving. The virus is a difficult one to contain, but the number of cases is coming down. That is happening largely because of the compliance of the public with the restrictions, but also because of the very good work that test and protect and our public health teams are doing, which they will continue to do.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has set out the guidance on care homes. Local public health directors are working with care homes to normalise—as far as possible—care home visiting, while continuing to keep safe people in care homes. The further measures that the health secretary set out last week to extend testing to designated visitors of care homes will help with that process, too.