Publication - Minutes

Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group minutes: 5 October 2020

Published: 15 Oct 2020
Date of meeting: 5 Oct 2020

A note of the thirty-third meeting of the COVID-19 Advisory Group held on 5 October 2020.

15 Oct 2020
Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group minutes: 5 October 2020

Items and actions

1. The group discussed Scottish Government proposals for additional measures to reduce R. The Group’s views on the science and evidence would be one of the inputs to Ministers’ decisions. 

2. The group considered the role of data and where it could be most useful over next 6 months. The group heard about the Scottish Covid Data and Intelligence Network, which has been established to enable collaboration and shared insights, improve geospatial data and the conditions for collaborative research. The group noted the current work and future priorities for the Network. The group heard that work was underway across the UK to look at the enabling infrastructure & expertise that will underpin work on Covid over the next few years. The group noted that data on NHS performance was important, not just the Covid response but also indirect health impacts. 

3. The group considered learnings from the first wave on the significance of post-lockdown mortality. The situation in hospitals and care homes was now much better than in the first wave but others are vulnerable too. Community wide interventions may reduce the overall risk but do not directly protect the vulnerable. The learning from the first wave should inform a strategy to protect the vulnerable which addressed that risk. And encouraged and enabled people to comply with measures to reduce risk.

4. The group considered issues relating to mass testing. Increasing testing capacity to enable mass testing could add to current options. It needs a clear aim, quick results and should be integrated with other systems, including Test & Protect – needs to be able to cope with mass isolation. Technology is opening up options for systems to support mass testing – a lower sensitivity test that’s repeatable may be better. Testing should be prioritised by likelihood of gain: SAGE has identified 5 groups. 

5. There was agreement that – pending capacity and resources to conduct mass testing - implementing the testing strategy should be the current priority. It was noted that progress has been made on all fronts compared to the position before the strategy was in place and extensive work is ongoing. There was insufficient time to conclude discussion, which would be resumed at the next meeting.