Covid Scotland: Why Nicola Sturgeon’s approach to the pandemic may have done little but hurt our economy – Murdo Fraser MSP

In addition to the requirement to wear masks under certain conditions, all remaining legal restrictions were lifted this week. Yet over the weekend, the Office for National Statistics reported that the Covid infection rate hit an all-time high for two consecutive weeks, rising for seven consecutive weeks.

More than 375,000 people in Scotland, one in fourteen, are believed to have contracted Covid last week.

Scotland is currently the hardest hit part of the United Kingdom, despite the fact that we have had stricter restrictions – and for longer – than anywhere else. The legal requirement to wear a mask was lifted in England last summer, yet there is no evidence that enforcement in Scotland has had better results for the local population.

To try to understand what is happening with Covid, the recent publication of a detailed and informative article in the medical journal The Lancet helped. This was the first peer-reviewed global estimate of excess mortality in the first two years of the pandemic, a comprehensive study that should help lay the groundwork for future policy development.

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Covid Scotland: Why Scotland has higher Covid rates than England despite…

This article argues that there is no clear relationship between levels of excess mortality and different levels of restriction. What really matters is vaccination, where the UK, including Scotland, has done well.

Over the past two years, Scotland has had tighter restrictions, and they have been in place for longer than in England. Our most recent experience, along with this new study, tells us that this approach may have been of little benefit in terms of reducing Covid incidence, while it has undoubtedly resulted in significant costs.

Nicola Sturgeon receives a Covid booster in Glasgow in December (Photo: Russell Cheyne/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

When we eventually look back at all the decisions made by politicians over the past two years and compare them with the available data, we will be able to assess who made the right statements. As it stands, it does not appear that Scotland can claim any superiority over our neighbours.

Murdo Fraser – Scottish Conservative MP for Mid Scotland and Fife.

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