Analysis: Sweet relief as restrictions eased without sacrificing most vulnerable

Scotland will move beyond Level Zero on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

This will come as a huge relief to many businesses still suffering at the hands of social distancing and self-isolation requirements, without any of the blatant disregard for the most vulnerable in society shown by declarations of “Freedom Day” south of the border.

After a recent move closer in line with policies in England, Nicola Sturgeon has once again struck a very different line to her UK Government counterparts.

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Public health data in Scotland is currently looking positive, with cases falling and hospitalisations beginning to do the same, and ICU bed occupancy hopefully to follow.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesPhoto by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The vaccination campaign has been phenomenal, with more than 90 per cent of over 40s given two doses two weeks before the move.

Many people are also tiring of continued restrictions, and while risks continue they cannot be enforced forever.

Businesses will be relieved to see social distancing requirements, which can severely limit capacity, scrapped, and relaxations to self-isolation rules will also reduce staffing problems.

That said, the pandemic is not over, and while it will be an unpopular move with some, many others will be relieved that some legal limits will be kept in place.

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The requirement to wear face coverings in particular is of comparatively little detriment to businesses, while having tangible benefits in preventing infection spread.

This helps to protect more vulnerable members of society, who are more at risk from Covid or whose immune systems respond less well to vaccines, many of whom voiced concerns when face masks were scrapped in England.

And it must not be forgotten that while vaccination has progressed hugely, it will be September before all young people have had the opportunity to take up both doses.

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While they are less at risk from serious illness, Long Covid can still affect young people, and high case rates in the community increase risk for everyone, even those who are vaccinated.

Health services are still under pressure, and workers are looking towards the winter with dread.

As such continued caution is welcome, but as ever so would more clarity on how exactly the medley of easing and continued restrictions will work.



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