Sturgeon under fire: Scots ‘scared’ to cross English border to get supplies due to police

Nicola Sturgeon warned on border guidance by Conservative MSP

Scottish Conservative MSP Rachael Hamilton said constituents were fearful to go out for essential purposes if they take place a few miles across the border in England. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon banned Scots from travelling into England during the festive season. Police Scotland said it would double its presence on the border to enforce the restrictions.

Speaking in Scottish Parliament, Ms Hamilton said: “For many people in communities across the border such as Paxton, Chirnside and Lamberton – Berwick-upon-Tweed is their nearest town for essential shopping and medical appointments.

“Police Scotland have said they will double their effort along the border.

“Combine this with the coverage in the media, many of my constituents are scared to venture out for essential purposes if it takes place a few miles away in England.

“I am concerned that elderly people will go without food, essential supplies and medical care because they are fearful of breaking guidance.”

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Ms Sturgeon replied: “The guidance and the laws in place right now have been written with the particular circumstances of the borders already in mind.

“That’s why I don’t think it is necessary to have specific guidance.

“For example, essential shopping that cannot be done in your own local area is one of the specific exemptions in the law and I do think it is responsible for all of us to point these things out to people.

“Nobody should be fearful of travelling for an essential purpose.”

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It comes as Ms Sturgeon raised concern over Scotland’s coronavirus figures being “worryingly high again” on the first day of 2021.

Friday’s 2,539 new coronavirus cases come after three consecutive days of Scotland having its highest number of new cases since the pandemic began.

The daily Scottish Government figures reported 2,622 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, with 2,045 infections on Wednesday and 1,895 people testing positive on Tuesday.

Despite all of mainland Scotland being in the highest tier of restrictions – and warnings to stay at home amid the rising number of cases – police still had to deal with Hogmanay revellers at landmarks including Edinburgh Castle.

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In response to Friday’s figures, the First Minister tweeted: “Today’s case numbers are worryingly high again. The new variant is accelerating spread.

“Please do not visit other people’s homes just now, even today – if you first foot someone today, or hug/kiss/handshake them HNY, you are putting yourself, others & the NHS at risk.

“The vaccine cavalry is on way, offering real hope for 2021 – but with this new variant, the next few weeks may be the most dangerous we’ve faced since Mar/April.

“We must act together to suppress it, to save lives and protect the NHS. stick with it.”

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