The Scottish Government should have moved quicker to warn Glasgow residents of the presence of a new covid variant in the city, Labour has claimed.
Nicola Sturgeon used a media briefing on May 14 to announce Scotland’s most populous council area would have to remain at Level 3 of lockdown while the rest of the country moved to Level 2.
It came after a localised outbreak of virus cases was detected in Glasgow’s southside, with the new Delta variant blamed.
Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said residents should have been warned sooner – but the SNP accused her of making a “ludicrous attack”.
The First Minister had spoken at an earlier media briefing on May 11 to suggest mainland Scotland was ready to move to Level 2.
Glasgow was finally moved to Level as of today – meaning residents can finally legally invite people into their own homes for non-essential purposes for the first time in eight months.
In a written response to a question lodged by Scottish Labour, Deputy First Minister John Swinney confirmed the Scottish Government was initially informed that the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of covid-19 had been upgraded from a ‘variant of interest’ to ‘a variant of concern’ on May 6.
Baillie said: “This is shocking evidence of inaction, dither and delay at the heart of the SNP government.
“Instead of taking decisive action to ramp up testing and vaccinations when the threat was first identified, the SNP sat on their hands – potentially prolonging Glasgow’s lockdown through inaction.
“Businesses were allowed to plan to reopen and are now at breaking point. People made plans to see their loved ones that couldn’t go ahead. People’s finances and mental health have been pushed to the brink.
“The people of Glasgow and, indeed, the people of Scotland deserve so much better.
“The Government has a duty to act swiftly to protect the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Scotland – they have catastrophically failed in their duty.”A spokesman for Humza Yousaf said: “This is a ludicrous attack by Jackie Baillie, who either doesn’t grasp the basic facts or is deliberately trying to mislead people.
“The fact the Delta variant was a variant of concern was already widespread public knowledge on May 7, when it was publicly declared as such by Public Health England for all four nations of the UK
“The designation of a variant is a quite separate process from outbreak management, where health protection teams work in local areas to assess the risk and deliver a proportionate response.
“That is exactly what happened in this case with Glasgow, where we continued to monitor the situation and decided not to relax restrictions as a result – the very opposite of the inaction Labour suggest.
“Jackie Baillie should get her facts right, and in the meantime apologise for trying to mislead the public.”