HOLYROOD has backed the continued suspension of an obligation for health boards to pay compensation to people with coronavirus who have to isolate.

Under public health legislation introduced in 2008, people with infectious diseases are entitled to compensation for loss of earnings if they are forced to isolate.

That rule has been suspended since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, changing it from an obligation to a discretionary payment, with the Scottish and UK Governments instead offering financial and practical support to those who must self isolate due to Covid-19.

A proposed bill introduced to the Scottish Parliament proposed to continue the suspension of compensation from health boards until October.

However, the compensation requirement could be reintroduced for those with other infectious diseases, other than Covid-19, under the planned legislation.

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Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, estimated that continuing the measured in the Public Health( Scotland) Act 2008 would have cost the health service £320 million per year due to the number of Scots who have been isolating with coronavirus.

Swinney said: “This power was intended to apply to small scale outbreaks such as ecoli, where a small number of households may be isolated for a short period of time and they lose out on income as a result.

“This was never intended to apply in a global pandemic such as Covid-19.

“Had this duty not been suspended at the start of the pandemic, health boards would have faced a significant financial and administrative burden instead of managing essential care and fighting a pandemic.”

MSPs voted unanimously to support the general principles of the Coronavirus (Discretionary Compensation for Self-isolation) (Scotland) Bill.