Stewart still pressing for research into ionisers in fight against Covid

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, has said he is still pressing the Scottish Government to see if negative ion ionisers could be used in the fight against Covid-19.

Mr Stewart, who is Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Public Health, was first contacted about these devices on 25 March, just three days into the first lockdown, but has of yet not received any real reassurance that the Scottish Government has properly investigated if the use of these devices could help in the fight to control the virus.

Mr Stewart said “I was contacted by a constituent in the very early days of the first lockdown who provided scientific data which suggested that negative ion ionisers could be a useful tool in the fight against the virus.

“I have contacted the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman, and the Minister for Innovation, Ivan McKee. I have tabled Parliamentary Questions and I also raised the matter directly with the First Minister on the floor in Parliament, all to no avail.”

Mr Stewart continued “My constituent advises me that these devices are being used in other countries to fight the virus and he is deeply frustrated at the Scottish Government’s lack of urgency in fully researching their potential use.

“With the Covid crisis deepening day on day, I am again trying to encourage Scottish Ministers to speed up their research into this. The Cabinet Secretary for Health replied to me on 9 November advising that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has set up a Short Life Working Group to consider the evidence surrounding the efficacy of “air cleaning” devices.

“Weeks later however I still do not have an answer as to when the Working Group will determine its findings, yet the virus continues to spread.

“We really need an injection of urgency from the Cabinet Secretary here and I have tabled a further Parliamentary Question asking when the Group will report back on their findings. It is essential that every possible avenue is explored in a bid to bring the virus under control.”