NICOLA Sturgeon has stressed that the Scottish Government is “on track” to have 2,000 contact tracers in place by the start of June – despite her deputy earlier suggesting the current fleet of 600 tracers would be “sufficient to get the system up and running” next week. 

A key part to the Scottish Government’s route map to easing the lockdown is an expanded testing capacity and enough contact tracers to roll it out as part of its test, trace and isolate strategy.  

Yesterday the Conservatives said Ms Sturgeon and the Scottish Government needed to “significantly up its game” on the contacting and isolating of infected people for the exit strategy to be successful. 

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The Scottish Greens added that the route map to lifting the lockdown had to be backed up by “robust testing and tracing”. 

Ms Sturgeon warned that more than 2,000, the original target of contact tracers, may be needed for the system to be effective and added that Scotland is “very close” to being able to process 15,000 Covid-19 tests a day. 

She suggested that more testing and tracers may be required, depending on "the requirements the virus places on us". 

The First Minister echoed the words of her deputy, John Swinney, by  confirming there are 660 contact tracers currently in place, but added that there are another 750 recruits "at various stages of the appointment and training process". 

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She also said there had been around 25,000 expressions of interest after the Scottish Government advertised for the roles, with the deadline expiring today. 

"All of that is on track and continues to make progress," Ms Sturgeon said. 

"We've got to be mindful of not getting too fixed in our minds about these numbers," she added.  

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“It is important we build up to that capacity but as of the end of the month we may well not need all 2,000 contact tracers and we may not need all of the testing capacity. 

"But we need to have it, in case we need it in the future and of course we may have to go beyond the 15,500 and the 2,000 in future. 

"We have to remain flexible in our ability to scale up depending on the requirements the virus places on us."