Sat 19 Dec, 2020

Many people will be baffled that the Government is still insisting on opening schools for two days this week, and I would urge local authorities to close early to keep staff, pupils and communities safe Patrick Harvie

Scottish Greens have backed the tightening of restrictions over Christmas announced by the First Minister in the face of a new strain of COVID-19.

Following a similar announcement by the Prime Minister for England, Nicola Sturgeon has said a planned relaxation of restrictions for five days will now be limited to Christmas day only, with three weeks of level Four restrictions across mainland Scotland to follow.

Scottish Greens have reiterated the call to close schools early so they do not open next week.

Commenting, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “It’s clear that the increase in cases linked to a new strain are very concerning indeed. For weeks Scottish Greens have been raising the concerns of public health experts that the planned relaxation of restrictions would lead to a significant rise in infections of COVID-19, so in the face of an even more transmissible strain this extra caution from the First Minister is clearly necessary.

“If this is going to work, we need to step up the support for people self-isolating, especially for those on insecure income. This means widening the criteria for receiving financial support and offering accommodation where it is urgently needed.

"The staggered school return is also a sensible approach, one we had already been advocating. But it must be accompanied by the regular, routine COVID testing in schools which Parliament has voted for and which teachers are demanding, and clinically vulnerable staff must not be forced to put their lives on the line by coming into schools.

“Many people will be baffled that the Government is still insisting on opening schools for two days this week, and I would urge local authorities to close early to keep staff, pupils and communities safe.

“Pressures on the NHS are already on the rise, as it deals with winter workload and the roll out of the vaccine. The last thing we all need is for a surge in cases, just as we can see light at the end of the tunnel, The last thing we all need is a surge in cases, just as we can see light at the end of the tunnel, looking forward to gatherings of friends and family when this is all over.”

Get involved

More like this

Greens: Self isolation key to success of test and trace

Fri 15 Jan, 2021

The test and trace system to drive down in infections of the Coronavirus will only be effective if people are supported to self-isolate safely, the Scottish Greens have warned.

Nobody should have been surprised by scenes at US. Capitol

Patrick Harvie MSP Sat 9 Jan, 2021

It’s hard to know where to start in response to this week’s events in the US. The scenes at the Capitol should have been shocking, of course. No doubt there are people who genuinely found it hard to believe what they were witnessing, and who perhaps feel more traumatised and insecure than they ever have about their political system. But in truth nobody should have been surprised, either at what happened or at the underlying issues it exposed. And nobody here should comfort themselves with the idea that those issues are uniquely American.

Sharma elevation offers little hope for climate action

Fri 8 Jan, 2021

Almost a year since Alok Sharma was given responsibility for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, his elevation from part-time front man to full time president offers little hope for those hoping to see meaningful climate action delivered, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP has said.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“The decision to put the COP26 summit into the hands of Alok Sharma, a free market fundamentalist who has repeatedly voted against climate action and backed climate-wrecking policies like Heathrow expansion, always gave cause for concern.