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Update on Scotland’s approach to managing #COVID-19 

As we look forward to 2022 with renewed optimism but also a sense of continued vigilance and resilience, no-one can guarantee a return to life exactly as it was in every respect before COVID-19. But through our collective efforts – and even though the road ahead may yet be challenging at times – we know that recovery and progress to a better future is now underway.

FM Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish Government published today, 22nd February 2022 an update on its strategic framework to managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Plans for changing legal requirements to guidance and good practice

Future Targeted and Proportionate Measures

Potential Responses Categories for Future Threat Levels

The Scottish Government has judged that the current situation – with a highly transmissible variant, resulting in a high level of infection, but with a lower severity of impact than previous variants – represents a medium threat.

They believe that this will reduce in the coming weeks to a low threat. The remaining legal measures in place will be lifted.

Monday 28th February – The COVID certification scheme requiring certain venues and events to check the vaccine or test status of attendees will come to an end.

Monday 28th February – advice to the public is to test at least twice a week and in particular if you are going to a crowded place or mixing with someone who is clinically vulnerable.

21st March – the legal requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor settings and on public transport will be converted to guidance.  The wearing of face coverings in shops and other indoor public places, and on public transport is strongly recommended.

21st March – the legal requirement for businesses, places of worship and service providers to have regard to guidance on COVID, and to take practical measures set out in the guidance will be lifted.

21st March – the legal requirement on businesses and service providers to retain customer contact details will be lifted. 

March – transition plan published on future testing requirements. Lateral flow tests will remain free of charge in the transition phase.

 Self isolation support payments will continue to be available to those who are eligible. The recommended period of isolation will be kept under review.

Children aged five to 11 will be offered COVID-19 vaccination appointments in community clinics from 19 March 2022.

All care home residents, those over 75, and everyone over 12 who is immunosuppressed, will be offered an additional booster six months after their last jag.

Adaptation

  • Increased hygiene
  • Ensuring hand sanitiser is available and encouraged to be used
  • Ensure soap dispensers are in place and full in facilities
  • Regular cleaning of tables etc. Adjusting premises
  • Improved ventilation, including mechanical ventilation where possible
  • Altering premises including using outside spaces where possible
  • Encouraging some distancing between customers and staff where possible
  • Increased levels of hybrid working
  • Support staff to isolate when symptomatic
  • Encourage face coverings even when not mandatory
  • Testing (when available and appropriate)

“we continue to face a very highly transmissible variant that is causing a high level of community infection”, Nicola Sturgeon

See also: 84 New #Covid Cases in Orkney

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11 replies »

  1. One of the things which can get to me – which can get me down about the situation we are all in these days, is a feeling of helplessness – not seeing what I can do about it as those in charge make stupid, harm-full decisions.

    https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/01/04/letter-what-does-it-take-to-turn-this-around/

    Personally, I can stay at home – but I realise that I am in the fortunate position of being able to do so, and am concerned when Mike goes shopping or among people when he needs to. Many don’t have the choices that we have.

    I’m aware that a petition doesn’t solve everything – but some do have an effect. I’ve just signed the petition “Boris Johnson: Don’t scrap free Covid testing and isolation!”.
    If you choose to, you can read more and sign the petition here:
    https://chng.it/sQBDtbbGpC

    It’s worth remembering that England is next door to Scotland, and someone can test Positive, not give a monkey’s, and travel across the border with no trouble at all.

    THINK ABOUT IT!

    And – ‘recommendation’ and ‘guidance’ isn’t enough for some things – ‘requirement’ is still needed.

  2. What worries me most is this big flaw in the proposed approach: They do not differentiate between settings in relation to mask use.

    Mask use (proper masks not just some piece of cloth) must remain in all health and care settings! They must be worn by staff and patients.

    When people need medical care and treatment, this is when they are at their most vulnerable. And it can be assumed that the most vulnerable in society might need this care more often than others and are at far greater risk to acquire a nosocomial infection. They also run the risk of a less benign outcome.

    Yes, for myself (although most likley not even classed as vulnerable) I have made the decision to stay home and continue to work form home too as someone in the lucky position to be able to.
    But it is very troublesome to know that this only works as long as one does not need treatment. Do we really want to increase the risk that patients need treatment for a broken leg but exit healthcare settings, hospitals etc. not just with a cast but more than they bargained for?

    I have long been critical of the lax approach in healthcare settings. To this day, mostly simple surgical masks are being worn there by staff, which are not much use to protect patients (and the staff themselves) due to gaps and leakage. This has been repeatedly criticised by experts: ‘The BMA has separately also written to NHSEI to ask that GPs have access to higher grade masks and are given guidance on how to keep safe in often small and cramped surgeries. There is currently no system in place to provide GPs with respirator masks, nor for fit testing. NHS supplies for GP practices are restricted to fluid replacement surgical masks. This is despite the known additional benefits of FFP3 masks’
    (https://www.bma.org.uk/bma-media-centre/better-protection-against-covid-19-for-healthcare-workers-in-england-must-be-an-immediate-priority-says-bma).

    This afternoon my worst fears came true. Just a few hours ago I have been informed over the phone that an elderly relative (in his 80s, recently undergone surgery but otherwise very active, fit and healthy) has in fact picked up the virus. Since he had no other contacts whatsoever, it is clear without any doubts that it is a nosocomial infection. Triple jabbed, always wearing a mask, only individual transport with own vehicle to appointments… still he must have encountered a healthcare setting where not all sensible safety precautions were in place. Now he is symptomatic, in quite a poor state… and we worry… a lot…

    We do know that – given the transmissibility of the most recent variants – protection through masks only is effective if not only individuals but also others around them wear a proper mask. It is pure nonsense to advice ‘anxious’ individuals to continue mask wearing if everybody around them does not.

    Masks and other precautions MUST remain in all health and care settings – perhaps even for good and they should become standard good practice of infection prevention and control measures at all times. If the Scottish Government does not differentiate between other public settings and healthcare settings, they make a grave and discriminatory mistake which is not compatible with claims to protect the most vulnerable.

  3. Perhaps you might like to consider the damage that lockdown and restrictions have done to the lives and mental wellbeing of young people.
    They are our future and its time they got back to some kind of normal life and not sacrificed in order to placate those who now consider lockdown preferable to…….well normality.

    • I do not know what lockdowns have to do with the simple call for wearing masks in healthcare settings. Perhaps you should first read and then comment.

      I cannot imagine one single young person (or anybody else for that matter) who would be affected in their (mental) wellbeing if they had to wear a mask on the few occasions when they have to seek medical treatment. What sacrifice is this? None. In fact, by doing so they would just demonstrate care for others and show maturity as well as responsibility and respect for others which are vital elements of the functionig of society as a whole.
      Are you seriously suggesting that potentially sacrificing someone else’s life only because someone does not want to wear a mask in healthcare settings is what constitutes normality?

      To compare mask wearing in healthcare settings with a lockdown would be almost the same as to interpret a speed limit on motorways as preventing you to drive at all. Nobody smokes near a petrol station… not every reasonable risk avoidance behaviour (whether mandatory or voluntary) is affecting your chance for a normal life.

      I do not prefer a lockdown to what you call normality. And to be honest, had we had sensible measures in place and a better informed public, a lockdown might perhaps not even have been necessary and we could have avoided much harm by continuing economic and other activities simply in a safer manner. Lockdown was a panic reaction because the government had failed to communicate risks on time. The risk was played down until they had no other option than to act harshly. Singing Happy Birthday whilst washing your hands obvioulsy wasn’t enough to stop a pandemic.

      That I personally remain in what you might call a self-imposed lockdown, is a personal choice. Firstly, it is my right to decide which risks in life I am willing to take. This virus is not one of them. Seocndly, perhaps my appetite for mingling with people is – for the time being – significantly reduced.

      What others do, is also their personal choice. However, one’s choices are defined by being a member of society, and one’s freedom ends where it can do harm to others or the society as a whole.
      My reading recommendation for the evening: Han, Z., 2020. Some Philosophical Thinking about the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers of Philosophy in China, 15(4), pp.547-566.

      Perhaps you may consider to avoid confounding ‘lockdown’ and ‘mask wearing in healthcare settings’. They are completely different measures and the latter causes no harm whatsoever.

      • Since reading of the changes in Covid regulations which are due to come in in Scotland, I’ve been puttering to myself about masks, and maybe this is a good place to release the putterings.

        Is wearing a mask so much to ask? I have asthma and don’t breathe well at the best of times. When I wear a mask I’m not comfortable as it restricts my breathing a bit and also – I could get a bit ‘panicky’ – but I don’t let myself.
        I wear a mask when in situations where I will have contact with other people, indoors. I do so because I think it’s worth it, not just for me but for everyone’s sake. Also, I know that I should. So, I do.
        It really isn’t a lot to ask, and can make a big difference to potential transmission of infection.

        Another thing which has been in my head for a while, is to suggest that you have a look at Mr McDougal’s usual sort of comments to articles, and don’t let him rile you. He never writes an article himself, but slams other people in a very un-reasoned, random way.
        On the other hand – his words to you, bring good words from you – so it might be worth responding to him – as long as you don’t let him get to you.

        Just a piece of advice – which will probably mean that he’ll have a go at me! If so I’ll be in good company.

  4. If Sturgeon ordered us to wear our pants on our heads in order to be different from perfidious England, I’m certain she would be heartened by the reaction of her followers.

  5. I’m just surprised that my comments haven’t been censored. The only articles published are from SNP supporters making nasty comments about our Prime Minister.
    The site purports to represent all political views from Orkney but is really an echo chamber for narrow minded Independence zealots.

  6. Is it possible that you not only lost the argument but also the plot?

    I couldn’t find any ‘nasty’ comments about our PM in the conversations here. I could also not see anwhere a mentioning of independence or anybody’s knickers. Obviously the site does not exercise censorship, even if someone does not meaningfully contribute to a debate. So consider yourself lucky, your comments are out there for eternity for everyone to read (and judge).

    Greetings from a ‘narrow minded independence zealot’ who refuses to repeat your grammatical errors in a citation and who would urge you to look up the meaning of the word ‘zealot’ and then consider to whom this may actually apply.

    Enough of this off topic excursion…

    • “Enough of this off topic excursion…”

      Amen to that!

      I can’t help wondering why he reads TON at all.

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