The Scottish Government is considering whether it may need to strengthen the “baseline” Covid measures currently in place in Scotland, John Swinney has revealed.
Speaking at the Scottish Parliament, the deputy First Minister said the spread of the virus “could very quickly increase again during the coming weeks, perhaps over the Christmas period” if the previous pattern of infection waves is repeated.
And he said the spread of the virus has “not reduced to anything like the low levels that we had seen following the lockdowns”, as he said the number of new cases each day is holding at a “concerningly high level”.
As he outlined the unpredictability of the situation, he told MSPs: “Many of us will wish to spend time visiting loved ones over the festive period.
“But we are not yet able to predict with confidence what will happen next.
“We certainly want to avoid the sort of strict lockdowns we have seen before most of us were vaccinated.
“We do not to repeat the sort of disruption to our daily lives, businesses and the economy that had been required at earlier stages in the pandemic.”
He continued: “But we do need to take appropriate measures to keep the pandemic under control.
“It is because we want to avoid more difficult restrictions that we cannot rule out strengthening the baseline protective measures currently in place as the best way to head off any prospect of future lockdowns.
“Indeed all governments in the United Kingdom have said the same, not least for example the United Kingdom Government’s plan B.”
Swinney suggested the strengthening of baseline measures could include extend the Covid passport scheme to indoor hospitality and leisure settings.
He told MSPs: “We have been considering for example whether we may need to extend the Covid certification scheme to bring more settings into scope, such as indoor hospitality and leisure settings.
“Among other possible interventions, we are exploring how we can help improve ventilation, what we could do to increase home working, and whether changes are needed to extend the use of face coverings.
“I would stress though that we have not yet taken any decisions about strengthening the existing baseline measures and we will be discussing options with business sectors in the course of this week.”