- 27 Oct 2020
Date received: 25 Sep 2020
Date responded: 26 Oct 2020
All information asked for is to be dated from 01/1/20 to present day.
1. As these numbers are being used to put restriction on our everyday activities, I would like information on the numbers of transmissions that have taken place in home settings, people who have been on holiday (both outwith and within the UK) and also a list of transmissions identified by Test & Protect in a variety of Business Settings, split by Health Board. I would also like the numbers for community transmissions that have been proven to come from these settings. I have attached a spreadsheet with all sectors required.
2. The scientific/medical evidence of what is considered a case of Coronovirus within Scotland?
3. The scientific evidence for the curfews on pubs and restaurants closing at 10 and what this would achieve? Rumours that SAGE did not model the effect of a 10pm curfew and that there was no evidence it would be effective nor was the behavioural sub group consulted either?
4. The PCR cycle threshold for tests being considered positive in Scotland, split by Health Board if each is different and also the PCR cycle threshold for UK Lighthouse Lab Tests. What are the upper limits for a positive in both? What is considered a weak positive? If a weak positive is detected, is this informed to the relevant Health Board and the person can then be retested with the “Gold Standard” Test (as noted by NHS Western Isles & Nhs Orkney with their recent false positives )?
5. A split, by day, of the positive tests which occur, split by NHS tests and UK Government Tests and also split by Health Board (This should be publically available information)
6. As per Spain, do we have a record of the numbers of cases which are asymptomatic and symptomatic, per day? If so, can this be provided.
7. Why is the information for Negative Test Data by specimen date not included in the Open Data section as a separate daily count on the Public Health Scotland website (i.e. not cumulative). As this speciman test data is being used to inform decision making then this information should be available in an easily downloadable and transparent format. I have already put this to Public Health Scotland in an FOI and had no response or acknowledgement from them.
8. What are possible explanations for the many negative test results being removed from the daily speciman test data on the Public Health Scotland data?
1. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, under section 17 of FOISA and in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
2. We follow the guidance of WHO. Scotland has not independently considered what is a case of coronavirus. Please see WHO Guidance – https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-Surveillance_Case_Definition-2020.1
3. Decisions about what sectors and activities on our route out of lockdown are guided by the principles set out in our Framework for Decision Making. Proposals are technically assessed using the best available evidence and analysis of their potential benefits and harms to health, the economy, and broader society to minimise overall harm and ensure transmission of the virus continues to be suppressed. This assessment process includes oversight of the assessed health risks in different settings by the Chief Medical Officer and input from the other Chief Clinicians as appropriate.
It is not possible to publish scientific evidence specifically on curfews on pubs and restaurants closing at 10 as in general neither the Scottish Government, the Chief Medical Officer's Advisory Group or SAGE have produced evidence papers on a sectoral basis. Instead we have used scientific evidence on transmission coupled with the social and economic benefits of curfews on pubs and restaurants closing at 10 which Ministers have used to make decisions.
The Scottish Government is currently preparing to publish this information in due course, so this is a formal notice under section 27(1) of the FOISA, that the information is intended for future publication. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information rather than release some of this information before the planned publication date. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in the release of this information now but we believe the public interest is best met by our planned publication. There is greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the future publication date.
4. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, under section 17 of FOISA and in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. However, you may wish to contact Public Health Scotland, who may be able to help you. Please see
the following links – https://publichealthscotland.scot/contact-us/freedom-of-information-foi-and-environmental-information-regulation-eir-requests/
5. You will find a split by day of the positive tests which occur, split by NHS tests and UK Government Tests and also split by Health Board via the following link – https://public.tableau.com/profile/phs.covid.19#!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview
For questions 6, 7 & 8. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is a formal notice of FOISA under section 17) Information not held. You may wish to contact Public Health Scotland, who may be able to help you (links above)
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House