Sturgeon squirms when confronted over paradoxical COVID-19 demands to frontline workers

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Nicola Sturgeon was asked to explain why childcare unit staff in Glasgow is being asked to continue to head to work despite coming in close contact with a coronavirus patients. Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard confronted the First Minister after social carers expressed concerns about spreading the virus at home and at work if they are not allowed to self-isolate. Addressing Ms Sturgeon during FMQs, Mr Leonard said: “First Minister, I’ve been asked by workers in residential children’s units in Glasgow to raise with you their real concerns.

They are being told to self-isolate at home because they have had close contact with a young resident who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“But they are also being instructed to continue to go to work.

“These staff have been sent letters saying that although they and their family households must self-isolate for 14 days, their place of work is being considered, and I quote, ‘as a second household setting’ by Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board and that they are part of, and I quote again, the ‘children’s unit bubble.'”

Mr Leonard continued: “This is not safe, and, in fact, it is a direct contravention of the guidance set out by Health Protection Scotland.

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“These frontline workers are anxious, they are concerned they may spread the virus to the people they care for, at home and at work.

“First Minister, what can you do to ensure that these residential childcare units in Glasgow allow staff to properly self-isolate when necessary and stick to the guidance of Health Protection Scotland?”

Nicola Strugeon admitted she was not aware of the specific case but would take time to study the reports.

She also reiterated her commitment to ensuring frontline workers are able to continue to provide their services while being able to access suitable testing and self-isolate if necessary.

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Ms Sturgeon said: “I will personally look into this as soon as I get out of the chamber.

“I’m not familiar with the terms of the letter.

“I’m very clear about the guidance, and the guidance in Greater Glasgow and Clyde with the exception of Iverclyde right now is more strict in terms of isolation of household contact than it is elsewhere in the country.

“Of course, residential services…there will be some circumstances where different situation applies because of the nature of those services but I wouldn’t want to, not having seen the letter, say now whether that is appropriate or not.”

She added: “What is absolutely clear to me is that all necessary precautions must be taken to limit the spread of the virus and workers – and that absolutely includes workers in residential children’s services – must feel safe and supported in their workplace.

“I personally look into this as a matter of urgency.”

Glasgow has been under renewed lockdown since mid-August, with the Scottish Government announcing on Tuesday restriction would be extended another week until September 22.

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