Sturgeon’s SNP have ‘lost control’ of Covid – Scotlands lockdown exit hangs in balance

Boris Johnson discusses Stage 4 of roadmap out of lockdown

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The First Minister is expected to announce Scotland’s exit from lockdown will take place on July 19, alongside England, on Tuesday. But MSPs have called on the SNP to speed up the vaccine rollout over concerns reopening could see a spike in cases.

Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson and deputy leader, accused Ms Sturgeon’s SNP of losing “control” of the pandemic.

She said: “The SNP has lost control of the pandemic and our exit from lockdown hangs in the balance.

“We need immediate action that meets the scale of the crisis before us.

“That’s why Scottish Labour is calling for the time between vaccine doses to be cut to four weeks, in line with the WHO’s advice, to speed up the vaccine rollout.”

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) official guidance says the Pfizer vaccine doses should be administered within four weeks of each other.

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) however says eight weeks provides better protection.

The Labour MSP also called on the First Minister to “get a grip of our failing Test and Protect system”.

Ms Baillie then warned Ms Sturgeon any more delays to unlocking Scotland would be a “failure”, saying: “Make no mistake, any delay to the easing of the restrictions will be the result of SNP inaction and failure.

“We are at a crucial moment in the pandemic – it’s about time we showed the urgency and ambition that we need.”

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, insisted there must be a “steady return to normality” and that the public should not be “punished” by SNP inaction.

He said: “For the past 16 months, the public have made huge sacrifices.

“People now expect a steady return to normality and that must be delivered.”

However, Lorna Slater, Scottish Greens co-leader, urged Ms Sturgeon to be cautious and said: “Scotland is still in the grip of the Covid-19 virus, with a high number of cases and pressure on our health services, so it is absolutely appropriate for parliament to be recalled.

“This is not a time to throw caution to the wind and accept widespread new infections, as the UK Government has irresponsibly done in England.”

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Ms Sturgeon previously said she “very much hopes” Scotland will be able to end lockdown reactions as planned on July 19.

But the First Minister stressed a move to level zero measures “doesn’t mean the immediate end of all restrictions”, with face coverings, physical distancing and hand hygiene in place “for some time yet”.

As of July 12, 3,934,408 first doses and 2,893,271 second doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Scotland.

According to the government’s data, as of July 11, 65.2 percent of people aged 18 and over in Scotland had received two doses of a vaccine.

This was compared to 66 percent in England, 64.8 percent in Northern Ireland and 72.6 percent in Wales.

Monday also saw another 42,000 first doses and 107,620 second doses were administered in the UK.

In total, the UK has administered 45,923,721 first doses and 34,872,131 second doses, equalling 87.2 percent and 66.2 percent of the population respectively.

On July 12, 2,134 cases and no deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test were recorded in Scotland.

Across the UK, 34,471 cases and six deaths were recorded within 28 days of a positive test were recorded.

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