Scottish Labor have demanded that Holyrood introduce new measures to protect people from Covid as infections continue to rise.
Jackie Baillie, the party’s health spokeswoman, outlined her Covid resilience strategy on Monday as the death toll from the virus north of the border reached more than 15,000.
The Scottish Labor MSP warned: “Not only has Covid not gone away, it is on the rise.
“But if decisive action is taken now, we can keep people safe without the need for future restrictions.”
The party’s six-point plan includes calls for free PCR and lateral flow testing to remain for society’s most vulnerable, and for free PPE to be extended to unpaid carers as infection rates remain students.
Virus rates in Scotland are the highest in the UK, and on Friday the Office for National Statistics said around one in 17 people in Scotland had Covid-19 in the week to June 29.
That’s an increase of one in 50 people in the week to May 29.
But Ms Baillie said: ‘For too long the SNP government has stood idly by as cases rise.
“It’s time to learn from past mistakes and prepare for the weeks and months to come.”
Their resilience plan also calls on the Scottish Government to ask the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) to review its guidance on ongoing and future booster vaccination programs to determine whether eligibility should be extended and accelerated deployment.
Labor has also called for anyone who is at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill to be able to access antiviral drugs within five days in their area if they test positive for Covid.
As part of their plan, they want to see spaces and buildings with the worst air quality and highest density prioritized with interventions to improve ventilation.
And the party is calling on ministers to boost support for Scots with Long Covid.
Ms Baillie said: ‘Not enough has been done to ensure easy access to antivirals for those most at risk, while those with Long Covid feel neglected.’
Dumbarton’s MSP added: “Frankly, Humza Yousaf’s approach to the virus has been to hear nothing and see nothing.
“That’s why I make it simple for the cabinet secretary. Labor has set out a clear program of action to keep people safe and protect the NHS.
“Humza Yousaf would do well to answer our calls before the situation deteriorates further.”
A Scottish government spokesperson said it continued to ask “people and businesses to take reasonable precautions to protect themselves and others”.
“Vaccination continues to be our most effective tool against the coronavirus. We await final guidance from the JCVI regarding the fall and winter booster program and encourage everyone to receive the doses for which they are eligible as they become available,” the spokesperson said.
“We are working with boards to improve NHS staffing levels from this already record post, fill vacancies and create new roles.
“This action is supported by our £1 billion NHS recovery plan, which has introduced a range of direct investments in the workforce and new measures to support recruitment council capacity. nationally and internationally.”
On Long Covid, the spokesperson said ministers recognize the impact this can have on people’s health and wellbeing.
“Given the range of symptoms that may be involved, we know there is no one answer and our approach is to help people with Long Covid access care and support in an appropriate setting. and also close to their home. whenever possible,” a spokesperson said.