Coronavirus in Scotland: ‘Council-wide lockdown in Glasgow not the right approach’ says Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has criticised the Scottish Government’s decision to introduce a council-wide lockdown in Glasgow.

Mr Fraser, the Tory Covid-19 recovery spokesman, said if the latest data shows infections are still high, then areas of Glasgow with higher concentrations of Covid infections should be targeted with testing and vaccinations – rather than the entire city being subject to “blanket” restrictions.

Glasgow has been under strict coronavirus restrictions for 270 days and is the only part of the country under tougher Level 3 constraints.

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An update on restrictions in Scotland’s largest city is expected from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Friday afternoon.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, Mr Fraser said: “Our view is the current council-wide lockdown in Glasgow has not been the right approach.

“Large parts of Glasgow do not see large numbers of people infected with Covid and yet are affected by these lockdown restrictions.

“If the data is still showing a specific problem in Glasgow what we should be doing is isolating that problem… localised surge testing, accelerating vaccinations in those communities and greater support for local businesses who have been really suffering.”

Murdo Fraser said if the latest data shows infections are still high in Glasgow then a “more targeted” approach was needed.

Fraser added: “We know the problem is not uniform… we know it is isolated particularly in the south side and it seems unreasonable for the whole city of Glasgow to be affected by one blanket approach.

“We would rather see a targeted approach if there has not been an improvement rather than treating a whole city as a single entity.

On Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said she wants Glasgow back on track “as quickly as possible, but that’s got to be done responsibly and safely”.

She said: “I know how difficult it is for residents and businesses across Glasgow but I also know how dangerous it would be if we eased restrictions too quickly and allowed a new variant of this virus, that we know is spreading perhaps even more quickly than the variant at the start of the year, to take a grip again.”

Linda Bauld, professor of public health and behavioural scientist at the University of Edinburgh, said “things do look like they are stabilising in Glasgow”.

“I think what makes it different from last year is that it does seem most of the infections are in younger adults – that was the case last year – but it’s not translating through yet to high numbers of people in hospital because fewer older people are becoming infected,” she said.

Regarding Mr Fraser’s point about a more targeted, neighbourhood approach, she said: “You could try and do that here, but I think you need to be very clear people, for example, couldn’t travel very much outside that area.

“It’s difficult to see how you would really have an impact, for example, keeping hospitality closed in Pollokshields West and not in other parts of Glasgow … because people move around.

“I understand Murdo’s point and I think what he’s saying is ‘Let’s be as targeted and local as possible’, which I welcome, but I think the ‘targeted and local’ needs to be the public health response rather than shutting things.”

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