Covid-19

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 13th July 2021.

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The First Minister:

I will provide detail in writing about the impact assessments that were undertaken and the process that we went through. We have to go through various four-harms processes before we publish any strategic updates. As I said, I will provide detail in writing, because the matter is important.

The issue is one of the most important things in terms of where we are in dealing with the virus. The letter that Pam Duncan-Glancy referred to has had a material impact on my decisions, because it would be unconscionable to take an approach to the virus that, in effect, abandoned the people who are at most risk and who are most vulnerable to getting the virus, either because of their conditions or because of the treatments that they are on. Some people in those categories will not even be able to get vaccinated.

That is one of the reasons why we need to be cautious and not simply to lift all restrictions—much as the rest of us, with our double dose of vaccine, might think that that would be appropriate. If I have to wear a mask, distance myself from people and do other things for a bit longer to help people with disability to have the same return to normality as I want, I am prepared to do those things. That will be the position of the vast majority of people in the country.

I know that there are concerns, which we will carry on trying to address piece by piece as we go through the process, but the message that I have tried hard to convey today is that nobody with a disability, suppressed immune system or clinical vulnerability to the virus will be abandoned for the sake of getting the country overall back to a greater degree of normality. I cannot be more serious about our determination to ensure that that is not the case.