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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-02752
Asked by: Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Date lodged: 14 September 2021


To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to figures from Public Health Scotland suggesting that the average number of primary contacts for COVID-19 cases has reduced from six in the week beginning 20 June 2021 to 1.5 in the week beginning 29 August.

Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 12 October 2021


Figures published by Public Health Scotland about average numbers of close contacts are based on completed Test and Protect interviews and completed online tracing form data, where index cases identify their close contacts.

As of 19 September Test and Protect has been successful in reaching over 1 million unique contacts.

We have introduced a range of measures, including increased use of digital and SMS communications and shortened call scripts for index case interviews, to ensure the contact tracing system continues to trace the contacts of people with Coronavirus and ensure they are given the right public health advice as quickly as possible, even when case numbers rise substantially. All decisions in relation to operational delivery of the contact tracing system have made in line with public health advice, including the continued prioritisation of higher risk cases. A combination of these changes is likely to have affected the average number of close contacts reported per case.

Test and Protect relies on members of the public to report all of their close contacts, to enable public health advice to be issued to those that may have been exposed to the virus. The Scottish Government strongly encourages everyone to engage with Test and Protect when contacted and fully disclose all contacts whether contacted by phone or digitally.