Breaking rules jeopardises lives and the economy
Day trippers diving off the pier at Balmaha, Loch Lomond. Picture by Bill Heaney
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has pointed out that easing of the lockdown and breaches of the guidance are dangerous for the economy.
She said: “If phase one is not successful then it will not help our economy.
“Our economy and our restart is absolutely dependent on everybody abiding by the rules in relation to the phase one in terms of physical distancing. That means travel in particular.”
Ms Hyslop said she understands the tourism sector is desperate to return, but if the scenes at Scotland’s tourist spots at the weekend in places like Loch Lomondside and Glencoe are repeated with people ignoring the five-mile guidance, it’s not just lives that are being jeopardised.
“They are actually jeopardising the ability of our tourism industry to come back when they’re ready,” said Ms Hyslop.
Restoring NHS services after lockdown
A patient relaxing post procedure at the Golden Jubilee Hospital.
“The last thing we want for any patient is to go in for an operation and contract coronavirus during that process,” according to the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland.
Their spokesperson, Dr Lewis Morrison, says he thinks it will be next year before some routine NHS services are restored.
“We’re not going to be able to go back to seeing people one after the other,” he said.
The chairman of BMA Scotland says doctors recognise the need to restart NHS services – but only if it can be done safely for staff and patients.
Dr Morrison said the Scottish public had been “really patient” during the coronavirus outbreak, but many now had medical issues that needed attention.
He added that social distancing meant the NHS “would have to operate very differently because of the risk of infection.
“We’ve done things very differently for the last 10 weeks and we’re going to have to keep doing that.”
The British Medical Association Scotland has said restarting full NHS services is a huge challenge and is urging the Scottish government to take a cautious approach.
It follows a survey of more than 900 doctors who said they were not confident demand would be met when NHS services resume.
Ministers have said they fully agree with an evidence-based, cautious and phased approach to resuming NHS services.
The number of planned operations carried out in Scottish hospitals in April fell by more than 80% because of the coronavirus
The number of planned operations carried out in Scottish hospitals plummeted in April. NHS services suspended because of coronavirus – including dental treatment and cancer referrals – are to be gradually restored.
Concerns big insurers are not paying out on ‘notifiable diseases’ policies
Big insurance companies face growing criticism that they have been unfairly refusing coronavirus claims from business customers.
Businesses have made claims thinking they’re covered by loss of earnings due to a “notifiable disease”, but many insurers say cover doesn’t extend to a pandemic.
Insurance company MS Amlin said they do not comment on individual claims, but added that it took its responsibility to support customers “extremely seriously”.
Trace and Protect and easing lockdown ‘depends on people’s honesty’
Scotland is three or four weeks away from having a test and trace system that will allow the lockdown measures to be eased further, infections expert Dr Christine Tait-Burkard said.
The assistant professor at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute said that, in contrast to many other European countries, Britain has had “a very slow decline” in the rate of infection.
Scotland’s Test and Protect system got under way last week and Dr Tait-Burkard has pointed out that, unlike places like South Korea, it does not involve the population being required to download a location tracing app on their phones.
“It is depending on a lot of honesty of people – are people going to admit they had a barbecue with 20 other people,” she asked.
“Given they are flouting the rules; it might be difficult. The only thing we can do is appeal to the common decency of people and ask them to cooperate.
“This is where we are all worried because it took a long time to set up the testing all over the country. It will reduce the numbers but will not be as efficient and it will take us longer.”
Dr Tait-Burkard pointed out that an app is still being developed in Scotland but will still be voluntary when introduced.
Responding to reports of a number of people flouting lockdown rules to travel to the Scottish countryside at the weekend, Dr Tait-Burkard, assistant professor at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute, admitted that “the risk of catching the virus outdoors is much less than indoors – some studies suggest 20 times less”.
But she added: “The other thing we are starting to learn, though, is that some people are so-called super-spreaders.
“When they have the virus, they might shed much more virus. We don’t know why, but rather than just infect two or three people, they infect 10-20 people.
“That is one of the risks outside if we have large gatherings.”
While Dr Tait-Burkard admits that the risk is not so great in outdoor activities like hill-walking, hiking and climbing, the risks to society rise in terms of parking and traffic problems – as well as accidents and the burden on the police and emergency services.
Outdoor pursuits are now allowed under the Scottish government
Observing the guidelines – Petra McMillan, super fund-raiser for Marie Curie Nurses training in the Old Kilpatrick Hills at Overtoun, Dumbarton.
Amid reports of visitors from as far afield as London and Newcastle visiting Scottish beauty spots at the weekend, a senior law lecturer has said there is little the police can do to stop such people travelling such distances against Scottish government guidelines.
Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr Nick McKerrell pointed out that, despite the Scottish government guidance being not to travel beyond five miles from your home, it is not illegal to do so – while there is no such guidance in England.
“You are not breaking the law in England and only breaking the guidelines in Scotland, so the police couldn’t stop them and charge them with anything because they are not breaking the criminal law,” he explained.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that, if people continue to flout the guidelines, the five-mile rule could be made law, but Dr McKerrell thinks it would be difficult to enforce unless the police could prove how far you had travelled or people were required to carry ID or a proof of address.
“These are unthinkable things at any other time but the type of thing you would have to put into law to enforce the five-mile limit on travel,” he said.
Dr McKerrell added that gatherings of more than two households and in groups of more than eight are breaches of the law and enforceable by the police.
Queues built up at council-run recycling centres such as Dalmoak on the Renton Road as they re-opened for the first time in 10 weeks.