Covid Scotland: More government changes 'likely next week' says Professor Linda Bauld as Omicron takes hold of Scotland
Professor of Public Health Linda Bauld says she believes further changes are likely to the Scottish Government advice next week in the face of rising Omicron infections.
Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland on Saturday, the University of Edinburgh professor said it was a “tricky” situation given the government has to consider social and economic harms in their approach to slowing down the new, highly transmissible, variant.
She said: “If you were only thinking about it from a public health perspective and protecting the NHS, we would all be asked to stay at home right now and effectively stop mixing.
"But those are not the only decisions as you will be hearing from business owners, people in the hospitality industry, etc...”
Shutting down businesses again would be a “last resort” she said, but decision makers have to look at the “menu of options and decide what’s proportionate.”
Asked if there is a chance Scots will be told to change their Christmas day plans, Prof Bauld said: “I think in a perfect world if we didn't want anybody to come into contact with anyone else they weren't living with that is what the advice would be, but isolation, loneliness, separation from loved ones etc... is something we also want to avoid.”
She added: "It's a really tricky time. None of us wanted to be here.
"I do think there will likely be further changes next week and my own view is I hope that the UK will have some alignment on this because it's very confusing for people.”
According to Prof Bauld, the tipping point will be if the NHS is “completely not functioning” given infections rates.
She described the knock-on impact and social harm it would cause, such as people not being able to receive treatment for other conditions or not having access to essential surgeries.
She added: “Even though there may be some early signs that the disease might be milder, as you heard in the briefing yesterday, even if you've got you know, fewer people going into hospital, when you've got many, many thousands of infections, you're still going to end up with bigger numbers.
"And at this time of year, that's obviously the main and genuine concern.”
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