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Following a Campaign by the Scottish Sunday Express, Ms Sturgeon’s administration said Public Health Scotland had committed to publishing more detail into how COVID-19 is prevalent in Scotland as fears of a second wave spread across the UK. The Scottish Sunday Express launched the Don’t Be Kept in the Dark Campaign last month to put pressure on SNP ministers at Holyrood.
Currently, the Scottish Government publishes data for council areas and health boards, however, these regions can have up to one million people and cover huge towns.
This is despite Scotland being split into smaller administration areas which have around 6,000 people.
The Scottish Government admitted they had closer breakdowns of data but initially refused to reveal it citing Data Protection Reasons.
However, last night, the SNP administration confirmed to this publication it had admitted defeat stressing the data would be available in the coming days.
Alongside this, Professor Bauld, a specialist in Public Health at Edinburgh University and an advisor to Ms Sturgeon also called for the Scottish Government daily COVID-19 statistics to be improved.
In a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 Committee, she wants improved reporting around age, sex, ethnicity and deprivation level for positive cases, those in hospital and deaths.
Professor Bauld said the reason for the additional information is to enable differentiation of those having routine testing, such as care home staff, and those being tested as they either have symptoms or have been contact traced.
For the Test and Protect programme, the time taken to trace contacts should also be published, she said.
She highlighted examples from other countries, such as Australia, which tracks the number of incoming travellers who test positive, differentiating between domestic and imported cases and also provides information on whether sources of infection are known or not.
She added: “Scotland should ideally be reporting or making available/more easily accessible.”
Professor Bauld agreed the campaign raises a “very valid point” stressing: “We could absolutely do with seeing these local lockdown figures.”
It comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said coronavirus “could get out of our grip again” as Scotland faces the risk of “exponential growth”.
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She said this weekend will be “critical” to how the Government plots a way forward and added she wanted to give the nation “advanced notice” that the “coming days are likely to see some hard but necessary decisions”.
The latest COVID-19 figures for Scotland show three more confirmed coronavirus patients had died yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths under that measure to 2,505.
A total of 24,126 people have tested positive for coronavirus – an increase of 350 from Friday.
Willie Rennie MSP, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “Professor Bauld’s suggestions reflect both common sense and learning from the best international practice.
“These would be clear improvements to the tracking and reporting of how the virus is spreading. The benefits would be significant.
“Some other countries are way ahead of us in tracking and communicating how the virus is moving around. The Scottish Government need to catch up quickly.
“They could start by taking Professor Bauld’s advice.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Public Health Scotland has committed to publishing more data on COVID cases at local areas, which on average cover a population size of 4,000 people.
“They expect to confirm the delivery date for that over the coming days.”
They added: “We are committed to the open and transparent publishing of data whilst protecting individual confidentiality and will keep the balance of transparency and confidentiality under review as the pandemic progresses to ensure we are providing the most useful level of information.”
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