Nicola Sturgeon blasted for ‘authoritarian’ Covid stance ahead of pandemic update

Nicola Sturgeon is a 'Covid hysteric' says Dan Wootton

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Today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will give an update on her approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. She has defended her decision to adopt a more cautious approach over the last month, saying the adverse impact on businesses was “worth it” to prevent further transmission of the virus. Ms Sturgeon added that letting the virus spread out of control would have been even more damaging. She said: “That’s not me saying I don’t understand and agree that those measures had a very adverse effect on businesses. Hospitality throughout the pandemic has been one of the worst hit sectors.

“But it is not a case of having protective measures and businesses are damaged, or having no proactive measures and everything is fine.

“It is the difference between having protective measures that stem transmission, or allowing transmission to go completely uncontrolled ‒ in which case the impact on business is even greater and even more damaging.”

However, her approach has been criticised by Chief Whip of the Scottish Conservative Party, Stephen Kerr.

He told Express.co.uk: “Well, we called for the remaining restrictions to be removed from January 31 with the exception of wearing masks in confined spaces.

“The SNP have overreacted to this crisis, they at times have taken the most authoritarian view of things, and for example, one thing we asked for to be scrapped is the Covid passports to enter public spaces.

“That’s an example, because the fact is Covid passports do not prevent transmission, and we took a very firm line on that.

“We don’t want to create divisions in a society that has already endured so much during the last two years.

“The real stuff we are going to have to deal with is a huge backlog of NHS treatments, a huge backlog in the courts, and the impact on people’s mental wellbeing.

“We need to focus on our national recovery. For the people that work in hospitality and the nighttime economy, that has been tested to destruction over the last few weeks.”

Later last week, Ms Sturgeon announced she will not extend Covid passports.

It came as Ms Sturgeon announced all of Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions introduced in response to the Omicron wave will be brought to an end.

She told MSPs: “I indicated last week that Cabinet would decide today whether or not to extend the certification scheme to other premises, such as licensed hospitality venues.

“This was undoubtedly the most difficult decision we faced this morning and, yet again, the judgment we have arrived at was finely balanced.

“On the one hand, extending Covid certification could offer public health benefits ‒ ensuring that people attending certain venues are vaccinated or tested reduces, to some extent, the risk of transmission and also the risk of serious illness should an individual contract the virus in one of these settings.

“On the other hand, we understand that extending certification could create additional costs for businesses at an already very challenging time ‒ and of course the smaller the business, the more difficult these costs can be to bear.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said it was too early to say it was “the beginning of the end” in terms of restrictions but that this easing marked progress.

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He told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “I think it’s too early to say it’s the beginning of the end, because I think anybody listening to the international commentary on the progress of Covid around the world would indicate that there are significant challenges that remain in the handling of Covid, particularly about the possibility of new variants.

“But I think today marks a very significant moment of progress in Scotland in tackling Covid and enabling people to live lives a bit more closely to what we would normally expect to be the case.”

Last week, Ms Sturgeon reported to the UK statistics authority over claims the First Minister “seriously twisted” data on Covid infections.

The SNP leader claimed this week that figures compiled by the ONS showed that infections in England were “20 percent higher” than in Scotland.

But that interpretation of the numbers has since been challenged, with opposition MSPs pointing out the same report estimates that around one in 20 members of the public had Covid last week on both sides of the Border.

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