Colin Smyth
Colin Smyth

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has hit out at the Scottish Government’s response to the recent severe Covid outbreak in Stranraer and the surrounding area.

The local MSP has said local people were let down by the Government’s failure to roll out mass testing in the area when the first cases started to present themselves.

He has raised it with the Scottish Government and while he has welcomed the news that NHS Dumfries and Galloway is to increase testing capacity in Wigtownshire this week, Colin Smyth has called on this extra testing to be kept in place until numbers decrease further.

Colin Smyth said: “Over the weekend we saw mass testing being rolled out in Langholm for everyone in the DG13 and DG14 postcodes, regardless of whether they had symptoms, in a bid to halt a serious outbreak in the area.

“This was exactly what should have happened in Stranraer in December when it became apparent that an outbreak was spreading. The new strain of the virus made the whole situation even more difficult to manage but if the Scottish Government had implemented mass testing, many cases could have been prevented as more people with cases would have been caught early and then self isolated.

“I simply don’t accept that mass testing can be rolled out in Langholm but not Stranraer because of the difference in size, when we have seen mass testing programmes in cities like Liverpool. It’s simply a lack of will and resources from the Scottish Government that is getting in the way.

“The community of Stranraer and the surrounding area has been seriously let down by the Scottish Government failure to put in place mass testing and it’s now almost too late in the day with numbers thankfully starting to decrease. I have raised this issue with the Scottish Government.

“I welcome the news that NHS Dumfries and Galloway is to increase testing capacity in Wigtownshire this week but I would hope that this continues until cases decrease significantly.

“As we’ve seen in Dumfries and Galloway, this virus has the potential to spiral out of control very quickly. Our fantastic NHS is doing all it can but it needs more help and support from the Scottish Government, especially in terms of mass testing.”

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