Greens call for evidence after Christmas warnings from experts

The Scottish Greens have reiterated the call for Nicola Sturgeon to publish the risk assessments associated with lifting restrictions over Christmas, after a number of experts have raised concerns about the decision.

The BMA has warned that plans to remove social distancing for three families together and removing travel restrictions for five days over Christmas will “almost certainly” lead to a rise in the infection rate.

Both UK and Scottish Government advisors have also commented.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told the BBC that he wouldn’t be gathering with family at Christmas.

“Effectively what this will be doing is throwing fuel on the Covid fire. It is likely to lead to a third wave of infection, with hospitals being overrun, and more unnecessary deaths,” he said.

On Channel 4, Scottish Government adviser Professor Devi Sridhar said: “It’s inevitable that when you have more people mixing indoors, you have travel restrictions being lifted meaning moves from high prevalence to low prevalence areas we are going to pay for Christmas holidays with probably a January national lockdown.”

Commenting, Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone said: “It is very worrying that advisors to both governments have such concerns about relaxing the restrictions over Christmas.

“The World Health Organisation advise that a virus is considered out of control when 5% of tests are positive. Yesterday, we were told that 8.6% of tests for COVID-19 were positive, so the last thing we need to be doing is sending out mixed signals.

“This is obviously a balancing act, but we need to see the evidence. In order to make this decision, the First Minister must have been appraised of the likely increase in infections. Parliament and the people of Scotland deserve to know how many extra infections the Scottish Government is comfortable with.”