Legislation behind contact tracing

While I completely understand the necessity of balancing public health with considerations about civil liberties and personal privacy, I believe, based on the successful practice of contact tracing in countries such as Australia and South Korea (among others), the Scottish Government must look to back up contact tracing with legislation allowing the state to do the following:

1) Forcibly quarantine people who have been traced and potentially exposed to infection. Self-isolation due to potential exposure should not be 'advice' but rather law. This has worked well to

2) Allow for a 'check in' system, whereby police or health authorities can actually check those who must isolate due to potential infection - fines could be introduced (as was the case in Australia) for those who refuse to quarantine/isolate or break quarantine procedures. A checking system can be done quite easily using everything from telephones to video calling apps, such as Facetime/WhatsApp/Skype etc. This allows the relevant authorities to ensure people are isolating.

3) Allow for people who must isolate in exceptional circumstances (i.e. those who live alone and can't get vital supplies) to be forcibly moved to a relevant facility or setting for isolation.

4) Apply quarantine procedures to ALL foreign nationals who seek to enter Scotland. This is of the utmost importance to any successful containment procedures during an epidemic. If one looks at the practices of South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, quarantining at our ports and borders is one of the most important aspects of cutting off extra-community routes of transmission.

Why the contribution is important

The balance between the health and welfare of our society and civil liberties is important, but unfortunately the former must always weigh more heavily on any responsible government during the epidemic of an extremely infectious pathogen. With this in mind, contact tracing must be water tight for it to be effective in the circumstances faced by Scotland - this necessarily entails backing up effective contact tracing with the law.

If you look at the comments of experts such as Professor Hugh Pennington and Professor Alyson Pollock, Scotland, with a small population, heavily condensed in the central belt, has a unique opportunity compared to the rest of the UK to eradicate community transmission of this virus in as swift a period as possible. Of course, this is subject to maintaining the lockdown until the virus is sufficiently suppressed to a point where the purpose should be to chase down and cut off the virus within the community.

These laws would be, like lockdown legislation, flexible and temporary, subject to independent and inter-governmental scrutiny, as well as under constant and consistent review based on epidemiological data and community feedback. The purpose of these measures is to best protect the collective welfare of the Scottish people in a collective effort, which means that we the people must temporarily and partially sacrifice some of our liberties to protect the general welfare of society.

Together we can eradicate Covid-19.

by SamCH on May 05, 2020 at 03:02PM

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