The SNP Government has left 14 councils and 2.96 million people across Scotland “in limbo” by keeping whole areas stuck in level two Covid restrictions, the Scottish Conservatives have said. In North and South Lanarkshire, that's nearly 662,000 people stuck in the restrictions.
Graham Simpson said the decision was a “disappointing setback” when people are already “at the end of their tether” after a year of disruption to their lives.
The Scottish Conservatives have argued that Scotland should move to level one from 7 June, with a new approach of targeted interventions where local outbreaks occur, instead of “sweeping”, “out of date” council-wide measures.
Graham Simpson, Central Scotland MSP said: “I had hoped to say that today’s statement was, at least broadly, a move in the right direction.
“But for nearly 662,00 people in North and South Lanarkshire this is a disappointing setback.
“Half of the country will move forward, the rest remains stuck in limbo, with no clear idea of when restrictions will ease.
“We understand the need for caution. But we also believe more emphasis needs to be placed on the impact of these restrictions on businesses, jobs, and people’s mental and physical health.
“The Scottish Conservatives believe a more local approach is necessary, with targeted interventions to tackle local outbreaks, instead of sweeping measures.
“The approach of council-wide restrictions is now out of date. It was designed before we had an effective, successful vaccination scheme that has now delivered 3.2 million first jags.
“Keeping whole councils or cities in level two is not a targeted, local approach.
“It will be a real let down to people across Scotland that Nicola Sturgeon has refused to consider a more targeted approach, instead of council and city-wide restrictions.
“There will be even more raw frustration at the lack of answers from the First Minister on extra business support or speeding up the vaccine scheme where outbreaks occur.
“When hospitalisations are so low and there appears to be no immediate risk of our NHS being overwhelmed, the public deserves more information about the ‘severe pressure’ that Nicola Sturgeon claims the NHS could be under imminently.
“After a year of disruption to their lives, people really are at the end of their tether. Slamming on the brakes of Scotland’s exit from restrictions is the wrong move.”