Vaccines should allow Scotland to manage Covid 'less restrictively', says Nicola Sturgeon

Coronavirus vaccines should allow Scotland to manage the pandemic “less restrictively”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister praised an article by public health professor Devi Sridhar, who argued that people in Britain could see the end of the pandemic “within months, if not weeks” because of the vaccine rollout progress.

Posting on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon said she hoped Scotland was in a “transition” out of lockdown, with the impact of the vaccination programme providing “an ability to manage Covid differently and less restrictively”.

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Writing in the Guardian, Professor Sridhar argued that throughout history “pandemics have ended when the disease ceases to dominate daily life and retreats into the background” and citizens of richer countries such as the UK and the US could experience this soon.

But she stressed that poorer countries who may struggle to afford vaccines, technology or treatments for Covid-19 “will remain trapped by outbreaks that cause chaos in hospitals and kill health workers and vulnerable and elderly people”.

Professor Sridhar, who is chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, added: “It’s now incumbent on richer countries that are emerging from the pandemic to turn their attention to poorer nations and ensure they have the resources they urgently require.

“It’s only when Covid-19 stops disrupting lives and livelihoods in all regions that we’ll truly be able to say the pandemic has ended.”

Patrons at a bar in Edinburgh. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

She also warned of “considerable uncertainty” about the prospect of new variants and how to manage the virus in children and young people “who will be largely unvaccinated and still susceptible”.

Sharing the article on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon wrote: “V good piece by @devisridhar on how vaccines open a path from the elimination approach advocated by many in earlier phase, to an ability to manage Covid differently and less restrictively.

“It’s a transition as we complete vaccination, but this is the path I hope Scotland is on.”

It comes as Scotland recorded 490 new cases of coronavirus, 4.2% of all tests, with one new death.

A total of 3,251,138 Scots have now received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 2,044,253 have received their second dose.

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