Sturgeon suggests Johnson’s planned visit to Scotland could undermine support for travel restrictions
Nicola Sturgeon also queried whether Boris Johnson’s planned visit from London to Scotland tomorrow was genuinely “essential”, suggesting his trip makes it harder to convince other people to stick to travel restrictions.
She said at her daily briefing that she was “not ecstatic” about Boris Johnson visiting. She explained:
We’re living in a global pandemic, and every day I stand here and look down the camera and say what I’m about to say. Boris Johnson said it yesterday – don’t travel unless it is really essential, work from home if you possibly can. That has to apply to us all.
People like me and Boris Johnson have to be in work for reasons I think most people can understand, but we don’t have to travel across the UK. Is that really essential right now? We have a duty to lead by example and if we are going to suggest that we don’t take these rules as seriously as we should it get harder to convince other people.
R is below 1 in Wales, says health chief
The chief medical officer of Wales, Frank Atherton, has said Covid cases are continuing to fall steadily across the country and the R number is below 1.
Atherton said the seven-day Covid rate was 200 per 100,000 – a third of the number in the two weeks before Christmas. Critical care was “busy” but the numbers were stable, rather than “shooting up”. The R number is between 0.7 and 0.9.
The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, will announce on Friday the outcome of the country’s 21-day lockdown review. But Atherton warned: “If we relax our measures too soon we know how quickly the virus can resurge.”
Atherton said just under 10% of the Welsh population had been vaccinated. The government has missed a target of vaccinating all over-80s by Sunday just gone.
About 52% of over-80s have received jabs and more than 70% of people living and working in care homes had been vaccinated. Atherton described the progress as “solid”.
Sturgeon says UK government hotel quarantine plan ‘does not go far enough’
Nicola Sturgeon says she is concerned that the UK government’s plan for hotel quarantine “does not go far enough”.
The Scottish first minster told her daily briefing that she had just been briefed on the prime minister’s plans on a four-nations call this morning, and that she was not going to pre-empt his announcement later today. But she went on:
But I do have a duty at this point to say that I am concerned that the proposal does not go far enough and I’ve made that point very strongly in the four-nations discussions that we’ve just had today.
So while the Scottish government will initially emulate the UK government’s steps on enhancing quarantine arrangements, we will be seeking urgently to persuade them to go much further and indeed to move to a comprehensive system of supervised quarantine.
Given all the practical issues involved our preference is to have consistent quarantine rules across the UK, but if there is no agreement to go further on a four nations basis we will be considering going further ourselves.
Sturgeon said that those additional measures would be set out next week, and she also told the public they should not be booking holidays overseas.
Sturgeon also paused the briefing for a few moments of silence to remember those who had lost their lives during the pandemic.
Referring to the UK death toll of over 100,000 deaths, she said:
These numbers should make anyone in a position of authority – and I know they certainly make me – think very hard about what we could have done and what lessons we must continue to learn. I know that everyone in my government has tried to do everything we possibly can but I don’t think any of us reflecting on numbers like these can conclude we have always succeeded.
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PMQs – Snap verdict
Labour says key workers should be included in phase one of vaccination programme
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