NICOLA Sturgeon is confident the Scottish Government’s test and protect scheme is “suppressing hopefully eradicating” Covid-19 – despite only around one per cent of people estimated to have the virus are being tested. 

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie quizzed the First Minister as to why such a small proportion of the 19,000 people thought to have coronavirus in Scotland have been tested since the test, trace and isolate scheme launched last week. 

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Rennie said that only 264 people have “tested positive since last Thursday”, adding “why are we missing so many people?” 

He added: “What is the value of the Scottish Government’s test and protect system? Is it capable or eradicating the virus?” 

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Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government's data on the test and protect scheme is not likely to be available until next week but it “depends on persuading people to comply with coming forward for testing". 

Asked about how effective the scheme is proving to be, Ms Sturgeon said: "I believe it is capable of playing a significant part in suppressing and hopefully eradicating the virus. 

"We can't force people to come forward for testing but we have to encourage people to do that and explain why it's so important." 

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She added: "So let us - all of us - take every opportunity to say to people, if you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, which of course is a fever, a cough or a loss of change in your sense of taste or smell, then don't delay, don't wait a day or two to see if you feel better. 

"Immediately go to NHS Inform or phone the NHS 24 and book that test. 

"So if all of us get that message across, then we will see test and protect playing the part it needs to play to ensure that we keep this virus suppressed." 

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Responding to Scottish Conservative MSP Rachael Hamilton about support for people having to self-isolate due to the test and protect scheme, Ms Sturgeon welcomed the UK Government's announcement of statutory sick pay for every day someone is in isolation. 

Ms Sturgeon added that, from her anecdotal experience and government monitoring, "the vast majority of people in Scotland" have been complying with lockdown and said she hoped that continues with self-isolation as lockdown eases.