Nicola Sturgeon says half measures 'will not work' in Covid-19 fight

13 October 2020, 16:24

By Maddie Goodfellow

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that half measures "will not work" as she warned a fourth tier is being considered for the Scottish coronavirus alert system.

It comes as the deaths of seven coronavirus patients have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

A total of 1,297 people have tested positive in the same period, she said.

The First Minister said new measures brought in by the Scottish Government last week are "tough but necessary", warning half measures might not work.

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The tougher regulations, including widespread hospitality restrictions, are "firmly rooted in scientific advice", she added, stressing the most important way to support the economy is to keep coronavirus at bay.

She also discussed the potential for a fourth tier in a Scottish coronavirus alert system.

Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing on Tuesday: "Let me be clear, we are not proposing another lockdown at this stage, not even on a temporary basis.

"We're not going to be asking you to stay inside your own homes in the way we did back in March.

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"And while we have been asking people to think carefully about travel, particularly overseas, and while restrictions on travel may sometimes be necessary for hotspot areas, we are not about to impose travel restrictions on the whole of the country.

"We're not about to shut down the entire economy, we're not going to halt the remobilisation of the NHS, it is still essential that the health service is there for non-Covid conditions as well as anything in relation to Covid.

"And apart from the pre-planned October holiday we are not planning to close schools either partially or wholly."

She continued: "This can't be seen as a contest between health and the economy.

"Keeping people safe from a potentially deadly virus is a prerequisite of a strong economy and of course in turn, a strong economy is vital for our health and wellbeing.

"These are not opposing objectives, even if it sometimes feels like they are - they are instead two sides of the same coin."

Ms Sturgeon added: "The fact is that against this virus we sometimes have to be tough. Half measures often don't work.

"What you'll find is they will still inflict economic pain and harm but they will not have the required public health impact."

The First Minister said she will soon bring in a new strategic framework to deal with the virus.

She said: "These are the tough but necessary restrictions that we're asking everyone to abide by as we try to make sure the virus does not run out of control.

"In return, the Government will continue to strengthen Test and Protect, we will do all we can to encourage and support people to comply with the advice, including the self-isolation ... and we will work with businesses to ensure that they can trade safely with as much normality as is possible during a pandemic.

"And we will be bringing all of this work together in a new strategic framework to guide us through the next phase of this pandemic.

"And that will be debated in Parliament after the October break."

On Monday, Ms Sturgeon said she will seek to align a planned tiered alert system as closely with the rest of the UK as possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a three-tier system for England, with areas classed as medium, high or very high risk.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government is "mindful" of the fact the minimum requirements of the third tier alert level may not be enough to bring the R level below one.

She said there will be further discussions in the coming days, adding: "If you thought the tier three announced in England yesterday wasn't sufficient, you could toughen up what the minimum of that tier three was, or you could have another tier above that.

"These are the options we will consider over the next few days before bringing them to Parliament after the October break."

The First Minister also called for solidarity for those asked to self-isolate after coming into contact with coronavirus.

"We should all think about if we can help somebody else if they have to self-isolate," she said.

"If you haven't done this already, now is the time to be able to speak to friends, family or neighbours to make sure that you have a way of getting in touch with each other if you need to.

"One of the things that we've seen throughout this pandemic is the extent to which people have reached out to help their loved ones, their neighbours and their wider communities.

"Self-isolation over these next few months is going to be a really important way in which we can all show that sense of solidarity and help to break the chains of transmission."

Giving an update on the daily coronavirus figures, she said the death toll of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days has risen to 2,557.

A total of 41,256 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 39,959 on Monday.

The new positive cases represent 17.2% of newly tested individuals, up from 17.1% the previous day.

Of the new cases, 419 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 337 in Lanarkshire, 191 in Lothian and 95 in Ayrshire and Arran.

There are 527 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up 40 in 24 hours.

Of these patients, 35 are in intensive care, down by one.