Wales’ Covid detection rate almost twice that of England and Scotland claims Labour think-tank

Gordon Brown. Picture by World Economic Forum (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Wales’ Covid detection rate is almost twice that of England and Scotland according to the think tank of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Our Scottish Future says 70 per cent of Welsh Covid cases are being picked up by testers, compared to 41 per cent in England and 32 per cent in Scotland.

Northern Ireland had the best rates of case detection in the UK at 81 per cent.

The think tank Our Scottish Future compared daily rates for positive coronavirus tests to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) estimates of the total number of people who had the virus.

The findings, however, have proven controversial in Scotland where the think tank was accused of being critical of the Scottish Government for political reasons.

A Scottish Government spokesman told the National newspaper that he rejected the report’s finding. He said: “These comparisons are entirely inaccurate, and baselessly undermine confidence in our testing programme.

“We find – and therefore isolate – more contacts per case than the rest of the UK which means we isolate more potential cases without the need for testing.”

The think tank’s report says: “Scotland is currently only using around a third of its total testing capacity, with participation depressed by low levels of convenience and poor messaging across two separate testing systems [NHS Scotland and UK Government]”.

“Comparing positive tests results to the infection rate estimated by the ONS surveillance survey implies that an average of 68 per cent of cases since November have not been identified through testing – meaning that the vast majority of cases have not been contact-traced.

“Scotland is the worst performer in the UK on this metric.”

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