Sturgeon U-turns after Scotland was a self-isolation outlier

Douglas Ross has challenged Nicola Sturgeon to explain why it took her so long to follow the rest of the UK in cutting self-isolation times from 10 days to seven for people who test negative twice.

The Scottish Conservative leader welcomed the First Minister’s U-turn on the isolation period, as well as her decision to follow the rest of the UK in changing testing rules so that people with a positive lateral flow no longer need to book a PCR to confirm their result.

However, Douglas Ross, responding to Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid update to Parliament, asked why Scotland had been an outlier on the 10-day limit until today.

He also challenged the First Minister over Deputy First Minister John Swinney’s use yesterday of data compiled prior to the introduction of SNP restrictions to argue that they were the reason for lower Covid infection rates in Scotland compared to England.

John Swinney’s argument was further undermined when data published today showed that virus rates in Scotland have overtaken those in England since the stricter restrictions were introduced by the SNP Government.

The First Minister did not address her deputy’s misleading use of the data, saying only that he had used the most up-to-date figures at the time.

Douglas Ross also expressed his astonishment at Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that she doesn’t yet have data on the number of people hospitalised due to Covid, and how many of them are unvaccinated.

The First Minister said this information will be published on Friday but told Parliament she had not yet seen it.

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “I welcome the U-turn on self-isolation rules, which Scottish Conservatives have been calling for since day one.  We said then the policy was not sustainable.

“Every other part of the United Kingdom made this change, but Scotland was left as an outlier. Why did the First Minister take so long to make this change?

“I also welcome the changes to testing rules, which are sensible and in line with the approach across the United Kingdom.

“Yesterday, the Deputy First Minister claimed that virus rates were lower in Scotland than England because of the actions of the SNP.

“But John Swinney was using data from before the SNP’s restrictions came into force – and data today shows the opposite: that our infection rates are higher than England’s since they were introduced.

“Tackling this virus is not a competition - but John Swinney tried to make it one. Why is the Minister for Covid Recovery using misleading data to make petty political points, instead of giving accurate information?

“It’s incredible that the First Minister - as she told Parliament – hasn’t yet seen the key data on hospitalisations required to make informed policy decisions.

“John Swinney said yesterday that this information would be published today - but now we’re told it will be Friday. The public need to know the justification for the restrictions being imposed on them – and so, it would appear, does the First Minister.”

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