Covid-19 Lockdown: Next Steps

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 21st May 2020.

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The First Minister:

Arguably, that is one of the most important questions at the heart of the next phase and the phases that we will go through. Like so many of the questions, there is no easy answer. I will talk about the shielded group briefly before I come on to the more general point. We need to move from asking people to shield themselves completely, to thinking about how society best protects them and allows them, as far as possible, to go about their normal life and make informed decisions. Through the test and protect strategy, testing will be an important part of that. It will also be important to make sure that we give people information about whether there is a higher transmission in their area or community, so that they can adapt their behaviour accordingly. We are thinking through all those important considerations.

That is also true for the general population. Increasingly, this will be about making sure that people understand and equipping them to make decisions about the balance of risk. Over the next couple of months, my biggest worry is that there will be a perception that the virus has gone away and we will slip back into old ways of doing things. None of us will be immune from that, and it will be important to combat it. It will be important to give people the information and tools that they need to make the best decisions and to remind everybody that, more than ever before in our lifetimes, our individual decisions impact on the collective wellbeing. We will try our best to get that right. Government cannot do it alone; in the weeks and months to come, as elected politicians and representatives, we will all have a big role to play.