Dundee City Council’s leader says it should be mandatory for all business customers to provide their details, in case there is a local outbreak of coronavirus.
Following the news that Aberdeen has been forced back into lockdown after a cluster of Covid-19 cases were linked to a city pub, John Alexander said it made sense for people to give their surname and a contact number so they can be traced if similar happens in Dundee.
At present, ‘contact tracing’ is used for anyone who tests positive for coronavirus in Scotland. They are put in touch with tracing staff, to help identify who they’ve been in close contact with.
The tracers then decide which of these people might be infected – based on how long they spent with the infected person and how physically close they were, and then contact these people to tell them to isolate for 14 days.
The Strathmartine councillor said: “I took my boys for a haircut earlier this week and I was pleased that I was asked for my name and number to ensure that if there were any cases that were connected to those premises, then they had the ability to track and trace – and I think that’s really important going forward as well.
“But, if you look at the situation in Aberdeen, I don’t know how many of those businesses that were listed have actually implemented or asked for names and numbers.
“That makes the job a hell of a lot harder, and it also potentially means that we’re not capturing all the cases, which might then lend itself to the virus continuing to spread amongst the community – because we haven’t managed to identify those individuals who were in those premises.”
Ultimately, the person suspected of having Covid-19 at the bank tested negative for the virus.
Mr Alexander said he believed it should be mandatory to hand over details, in the same way face masks were compulsory.
He added: “I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where we’re a month down the line, we’re dealing with a localised lockdown, and it’s because some businesses weren’t voluntarily taking those details down.
“It’s a very simple measure, and there are other arguments, there are other narratives there around people and their information, and making sure that that’s contained and held safely, but it can be as limited as a phone number. I think just having the ability to contact somebody is the key thing here.”