Politics

Nicola Sturgeon advisor says it makes ‘absolute sense’ to control Scotland’s borders

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Professor Stephen Reicher who sits on the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 advisory group said if coronavirus levels do not improve in England, he stressed the Border would become a “key” issue.” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she would not “shy away” from the decision if she believed it would help control the spread of coronavirus.

She added: “As First Minister of the Scottish Government, we will take careful decisions based on evidence and judgment and the precautionary principle.

“I hope we don’t have to do any of that but I’m not going to shy away from it if it is what is required to try to stop this virus taking any more lives and doing any more damage than it already has.”

Ms Sturgeon’s administration currently has rules in place meaning anyone visiting Scotland from overseas must go into quarantine for two weeks or face a £480 fine and could raise to £5,000 if the case goes to court.

Professor Reicher, added: “One of the tools for managing the pandemic is controlling movement between areas of high and low infection.

 

“You don’t want to reinfect areas which have largely eradicated the infection. It can happen between nations.

“It can happen within nations.

“In basic public health terms, it makes absolute sense to keep your options open in terms of all the tools available to stop COVID-19.”

The First Minister also made clear today that any suggestion the Scottish Government would impose restrictions on English people crossing the border for political reasons is “plain wrong”.

In response to a question about a company’s concern about anti-English sentiment from independence campaigners demonstrating on the Scottish border, Ms Sturgeon said her “cautious” approach to lockdown had nothing to do with constitutional conflicts.

She added: “I’m going to try to be driven purely by considerations of public health,” Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing.

“There’s not an anti-English bone in my body, I don’t have a single anti-English fibre of my being.

“I come from partly English stock – my grandmother was English – and I lead a party that is full of English people.

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“We’re dealing with a public health crisis right now and I think anybody who tries to say that the decisions we are taking in a public health sense are somehow political, constitutional or suggest in any way an attitude towards people from other parts of the UK, are just plain wrong.”

It comes after the Scottish tourist season started on July 15th with people from England able to book hotels in Scotland whilst the country has also registered its first COVID-19 death in eight days.

The First Minister said that while “even one death is, of course, one too many” to have had just one registered fatality of a confirmed case in eight days is “a sign of the progress we have made”.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed the cross-border quarantine policy describing it as “astonishing and shameful”.

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