SNP on the spot as BBC host highlights major inconsistency in Sturgeon’s Covid strategy
BBC host highlights inconsistency in Sturgeon's Covid strategy
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Dr Philippa Whitford backed Nicola Sturgeon’s widely unpopular decision to implement tighter Covid rules in Scotland amid a surge in Omicron cases as she slammed people in Scotland for not doing enough to avoid the new measures in the first place. The SNP spokeswoman however was questioned about the First Minister’s strategy, with BBC Scotland’s Laura Maciver questioning the need for further restrictions despite the vaccination campaign. Ms Maciver said: “If vaccines are the way out of this, why are we still living with restrictions?”
Although Dr Whitford empathised with some people’s agony at having to get yet another dose, she pointed out that two jabs no longer suffice to fend off the threat of the Omicron variant.
She said: “Well obviously, we’ve already seen the information about the protection from vaccines with regards to Omicron.
“And disappointingly, because many people were vaccinated earlier in the year.
“Our immunity is waning somewhat and people who have had two doses of AstraZeneca are not well-protected against Omicron.”
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She added: “It shows up as really minimal protection.
“That comes up to about 70 percent protection from catching it if they then are boosted.
“So our protection that we already have by being doubly vaccinated is now weak and the boosters are critical to that.
“But the problem with Omicron, as we have seen, it is spreading so quickly and you actually have to put all your protections in.”
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But she admitted that there is only so much vaccinations and boosters can do to protect people if some of the advice they are given fall on deaf ears.
Dr Whitford suggested some people’s inadequate behaviour throughout the year has now come back to bite the whole Scottish population with stricter rules threatening to ruin Christmas events.
She said: “It is not just a matter of relying only on vaccination and not only on boosters.
“But if everyone was following the advice in Scotland such as wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces, washing the hands and working from home if they can, if we were all doing that, those two things would be adding together.”
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Nicola Sturgeon gave Scotland the green light to go ahead with their planned Christmas events but demanded people reduce their social interactions as much as they can.
Ms Sturgeon said that indoor social mixing should not extend to more than three households as she requested people to get vaccinated and take a test in advance before they catch up to prevent any potential COVID-19 outbreak in their own families.
The official Omicron infections amounted to 296 in Scotland compared to the 5,006 in England, 12 in Northern Ireland, and 32 in Wales for a total of 5,346 people.
The First Minister threw light on why it is so important that people cut off their social interactions as much as they can, stressing that it will “help break the transmission chains.”
More for the decision itself, Ms Sturgeon was blasted for making her mind up so late, with less than two weeks to go, as most people have already meticulously planned their Christmas events.
But she said “So my key request today is this, before and immediately after Christmas, please minimise your social mixing with other households as much as you can.
“However, if you do plan on socialising, either at home or in indoor public places, we are asking that you limit the number of households represented in your group to a maximum of three.
“And make sure you test before you go.”
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