Sturgeon’s ‘inconsistent’ Covid rules skewered for ‘sowing confusion’ as restrictions end

Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon 'cannot guarantee' no more lockdowns

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The First Minister announced that as Scotland exits level zero, face masks indoors and working from home would remain. Brian Monteith, a member of the Scottish Conservatives, blasted Ms Sturgeon for her pandemic response, saying it “no rational sense”.

Scotland’s Covid restrictions applied to different regions, with the severity of restrictions ranging from Level 0 to Level 4.

Level 4 is “closer to a full lockdown of the type the UK went into at the end of March 2020”, whereas Level 0 sees most businesses open but with social distancing.

Scotland has now moved beyond Level 0, but rules on face coverings and home working remain.

Ms Sturgeon warning the public “the virus is still with us”, but added Scotland was in a “much better position” with Covid.

Mr Monteith told The Scotsman that the SNP Government’s decision to keep face mask rules was another example of “obviously contrasting conditions” in Scotland’s Covid rules.

He said: “What surely made no rational sense was to also have different levels of classification for the pandemic restrictions (from the five levels of four to zero in Scotland, to levels four to one in England).

“This only sowed confusion to the millions who would be travelling quite justifiably across our legislative jurisdictions, never mind the local authority borders.

“‘Keep it simple, stupid’ is a golden rule in engineering that means simplicity of a system guarantees the greatest levels of user acceptance and interaction – which surely must have been the communication goal in reaching out to the public in a pandemic.

“Yet our Scottish Government has been an exemplar in keeping its messaging confusing and complicated, including the use of a different memorable instructive phrase that required an acronym (FACTS) to be deciphered – compared to England’s immediate and simple Hands-Face-Space.”

The former Tory MEP said “it is self-evident to me” Scotland’s Covid rules should “have been uniform and consistent across the whole of the UK”.

He wrote: “Suddenly we found Scotland was to have another raft of different and inconsistent rules that will make comprehension, understanding and acceptance far less likely and can only spread ridicule about the need for the rules at all.

“At Scottish wedding ceremonies the bride and groom shall still have to wear masks during the ceremony but not during the reception.

“I would wager the risk of transmission of the Covid virus at a wedding is far less likely between the bride and groom (and even the rest of the immediate family and bridal party) than their interactions with the assembled gathering over drinks (presumably standing up).

“There are many other examples, such as not requiring a mask when dancing at a nightclub but needing one on a bus – tell me the faster breathing exertions of the former are not more risky than the latter.

“The greatest ire towards the Scottish Government will be that inconsistencies abound – that the new rules make no sense and apply to one group of people and not others.

“To avoid the public’s cynicism all that’s required is to set the people free.”

Former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson also said in her column for the Mail on Sunday that pupils are the victims of the SNP’s Covid rules “shambles”.

She said: “And here is where we are. Assemblies are not allowed in any Scottish school. But mass gatherings are permitted, including 50,000 people attending the TRNSMT festival…

“Finally, pupils sitting in class in rows, facing the same way and with windows open, are still required to wear face masks, while sweaty clubbers, energetically cutting a rug on the dancefloor in often poorly ventilated venues, can breathe all over each other without a face covering.

“It makes a mockery of the idea that any of this is based on science or following best advice. Indeed, the SNP Government’s own advisory sub-group on education said in June that face coverings ‘should be removed in classrooms when possible’.”

August 8 saw 1,240 new cases and no deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test in Scotland.

In total, Scotland has seen 354,538 cases and 7,992 deaths from the virus.

Scotland has administered 4,020,712 first doses and 3,286,153 second doses of Covid vaccine.

Across the UK, 47,036,796 first doses and 39,429,468 second doses have been administered, equalling 88.9 percent and 74.5 percent of the population respectively.

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