Covid-19

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd December 2020.

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Photo of Richard Leonard Richard Leonard Labour

It is clear that the Government’s strategic framework, launched less than two months ago, was abandoned at the weekend. The decision to move every part of mainland Scotland to level 4 from boxing day and for an indefinite period means the closure of all hospitality, pubs and restaurants, non-essential retail, public buildings, gyms, indoor tourism attractions, museums and galleries. That is a drastic move. Three weeks does not sound like three weeks this time; it sounds considerably longer.

The First Minister has told us that this is a proportionate public health response, given the virulence of the new strain of the virus. Will she also make a proportionate response in other ways? Will she step up Government support for businesses, workers and families across Scotland that have been directly affected by that Government decision? Will the Government step up levels of support for mental health and wellbeing services?

If the new strain of the virus is 70 per cent more transmissible than the original one, will the Government urgently increase the number of tests carried out in Scotland by 70 per cent daily? Will it improve the capacity, utilisation and performance of test and protect by 70 per cent? Will the First Minister commit, as soon as is practically possible, to a 70 per cent acceleration in the roll-out of the vaccination programme?