Covid Scotland: Devi Sridhar speaks ahead of Nicola Sturgeon update

One of Nicola Sturgeon’s key advisers on the Covid pandemic has suggested that Scotland could see more ‘protections’ in place – and says it is too early to say what impact COP26 had on the country’s infection levels.

Professor Devi Sridhar said that increasing cases in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, are worrying, with Austria currently imposing a blockade on unvaccinated citizens.

She says that by looking at restrictions being introduced in other countries, more measures could be introduced in Scotland – including the extension of the vaccine passport scheme.

But while new measures could be introduced, she believes the era of ‘stay home locks’ is behind us.

She said: “The virus is still here, it is putting a lot of pressure on hospitals in Scotland and therefore it is better that we look at the problem as it really is and try to get to the forefront to avoid tougher measures further down. line.

“I would mean, by looking at other countries, more tightening of indoor frameworks where it is more risky. To ask for certification when going into an indoor environment. It could again be looking at other countries, things like for example, vaccination passport, asking for a negative PCR test, even asking for recovery from Covid within the last 90 days if you have had Covid.

“The virus finds people who are unvaccinated, and then it spreads at such a high level that it also finds those who are double-vaccinated, but who are much more fragile. And what we need to do is limit that circulation.”

The comments come ahead of a Covid update to be delivered by Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon tomorrow, where it is possible we could see an extension of restrictions.

Daily cases in Scotland have remained constant over 2,000 in the last few months, and Professor Sridhar admits that the fallout from COP26 is not yet clear.

“I’m still cautious, I would wait another 1 to 2 weeks to see the full effect [of COP26], but I think it reflects all the constraints that were put in place, “she said.

Additional protective measures, including evidence of vaccination and negative lateral flow tests, may be responsible for the lack of major leaps in cases that health experts had previously worried about, she said, but the full extent will not be clear in the next fourteen days.

Asked whether she thought vaccine passports would have a more prominent place in social contexts, Professor Sridhar replied: “I do not know, but I would advise to do so.

“I would say at the moment that we need to screw it up and that if you look at public opinion polls, there is encouragement that people want it. They want to continue their lives, go to restaurants, go on hotels, go to gyms – We want everything to stay open.

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