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SNP plan to keep Covid rules until 2022 but u-turn on face masks for young children

New SNP Government documents have revealed “sleekit and secretive” plans to retain Covid rules until 2022, alongside a substantial change in policy on face masks for young children.

The guidance indicates that the SNP have u-turned on the need for most primary school children to wear face masks, although they will still be required for over 12s.

Government documents published after Tuesday’s Covid update state that "We anticipate that it may be necessary to keep some precautionary measures in place until early 2022” and “children under 12 are exempt from any requirement to wear face coverings, but can, of course continue to choose to do so.”

On the possible extension of Covid rules to 2022, Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells accused Nicola Sturgeon of adopting a “sleekit and secretive approach” that kept the public in the dark.

She added the “SNP’s new Covid rules are a mess and their communication of the changes has been even more shambolic.”

The Scottish Conservative health spokeswoman also said the SNP had tried to “sneak” out their partial u-turn on face masks in schools and added there was no “rhyme or reason” to decisions that will see 12 year olds have to wear face masks in schools while 11 year olds do not.

On face mask guidance for young children, Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Annie Wells MSP, said:  “The SNP’s new Covid rules are a mess and their communication of the changes has been even more shambolic.

“They’ve clearly u-turned on face masks for most primary school children but tried to sneak out the change.

“Parents will be left baffled by the flaws in this new SNP guidance. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to these decisions. Why are they deeming it safe for 11 year olds to remove face coverings but 12 year olds still need to wear a mask? 

“Young people deserve a return to normality as soon as possible after the difficult year they’ve had but the SNP are refusing to put Scotland’s schools first.”

On extending Covid rules to 2022, Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Annie Wells MSP, said: “It looks like the SNP are quietly planning to keep Covid rules in place until next year. 

“We’ve now gone beyond Level 0 yet there’s no end in sight for people across Scotland who want to get back to normal.

“The SNP are determined to cling on to control over people’s freedom, even when the public health data no longer supports so many constraints on people’s lives.

“Instead of being honest and upfront with the public, Nicola Sturgeon has adopted a sleekit and secretive approach. She probably knows herself that people will be furious when they find out her plan to prolong strict Covid restrictions into 2022.”

Notes

The possible extension of Covid rules to 2022 and partial u-turn on face masks for children are both contained in this SNP Government document: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/