May 24, 2022
It’s time for Nicola Sturgeon to free Scotland from code restrictions (Photo: Fraser Bremenner / Pool / Getty Images)

When Boris Johnson announced last week that Wood’s sanctions in England would be eased a month earlier, the Scottish Government’s response was as sharp as it had been predicted.

Health Secretary Hamza Yousuf condemned the prime minister’s call on Twitter as “an attempt to remove and remove the probe into the prime minister’s behavior.”

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It was a crude political point, which, unfortunately, was retweeted by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Gregor Smith, although he later had the good fortune to apologize for doing so. (He said he was just retweeting the public health message – there was none.)

Perhaps we should not expect better from a minister in government who has ’emergency’ powers that want to make him permanent.

Whatever the PM’s motivations for the announcement, it is clear that Omicron’s impact was not as serious as it was before we were led to believe before Christmas. I still remember the serious predictions of thousands of deaths due to this new type.

It now appears that these warnings were unfounded, and in fact did not take into account the South African experience, where experts were telling us that despite the high migration of Omicron, its health effects were far less serious than those of Delta. ۔ This experiment should take into account the views of those who constantly demand “following science”.

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Although we are grateful to them, the truth is that when it comes to the effects of code, scientists have not always corrected it, and in fact the predictions made have been very disappointing.

An analysis of the modeling by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shows that even their most optimistic estimates of hospital admissions and deaths far exceeded the final results.

It is understandable that modelers would make the mistake of taking precautions if the death and serious damage from an infectious virus turned out to be much worse than they had suggested. However, this means that we need to carefully weigh what scientists are telling us when considering what restrictions we need to continue.

Ultimately, decisions are made by government ministers, not scientists. There are broader policy considerations that need to be addressed here.

The longer the sanctions remain in place, the greater the risk of wider damage to health and society – economic costs for business and employment; Adverse effects on health conditions where people do not have access to screening or treatment, leading to increased mortality. And loneliness due to lockdowns and sanctions has a huge impact on the mental health of the nation.

At this point, we can only estimate the long-term consequences of these far-reaching effects. Kristen Tate Burkard, a virologist at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC Radio Scotland over the weekend that despite being relatively safe from coyotes, children would pay for the financial and social costs of the lockdown for the rest of their lives.

He highlighted the constant need for children to wear face masks in schools which affects their emotional development, academic development and personal development.

Now the first minister has finally announced that the requirement to wear face masks in schools will be abolished by the end of February. Not ahead of time

However, the mood music so far from the Scottish Government suggests that they do not fit in with the wider and faster lifting of the restrictions we see in England.

Throughout the epidemic, Scotland does not seem to have its own quasi-policies – only England has extended a few notches to suggest that the first minister cares more.

It is not just in England that we are seeing progress in easing sanctions. The Welsh government announced last week that its vaccine passports would be revoked from 18 February, while the rules for wearing face masks indoors in cinemas and museums would be relaxed from 28 February. Northern Ireland followed suit on Monday, with its health minister saying all sanctions would be lifted. Scotland is now at the forefront of maintaining sanctions while the rest of the UK is open.

Disillusionment
with the Scottish Government’s stance is turning into anger among some in the business community and elsewhere. If the SNP wants to impose more sanctions here than in England or Wales, we need to hear why they believe so.

We also need to know why we can’t quickly rely on the personal responsibility of those whom our leaders call our own ‘heroes’ of epidemics.

Last week the Scottish Conservatives published an article – “Back to normal: a blueprint for living with the Cowboys” – arguing for more reliance on public sentiment rather than legal control.

We know from experience that the public responds well to public health messages, as we saw in December when a large number of celebrations were canceled due to consultations about Christmas parties, before any legal restrictions. Be applied

Removing legal restrictions, and replacing them with a consultative approach, will allow individuals to assess their risk of contracting the virus and act accordingly.

Relying on people to act responsibly, as we have already shown, helps us to live successfully with the code and avoid financial and health risks as a result of future lockdowns. ۔ Rules, after all, only work when they are followed.

We’ll find out next week exactly what Nicola Sturgeon and his colleagues have planned for us regarding future sanctions. For once, the nationalists shouted “Freedom!” Would love to hear

Murdo Fraser is the Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife.

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