Scotland faces growing public 'unrest' over Covid lockdown, MSPs warned

Public support for Coronavirus lockdown measures is falling in Scotland with "potential unrest" a growing danger after weekend protests, MSPs have been told.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 11:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 11:27 am
Hundreds attended a Covid protest at Holyrood at the weekend

There are now calls for a fresh public information drive to set out the need for restrictions as Covid cases continue to surge across the UK.

The Scottish Government is planning to extend the emergency Coronavirus legislation, which expire at the end of the month, covering measures like the need to wear face masks in shops, as well as limiting the number of people who can gather indoors.

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But Professor Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, warned of growing unrest about support for the measures as she appeared before Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee today.

Public support remains higher in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, the expert said.

But she added: "What we've seen in recent months all across the UK and in Scotland is that there is a gradient and it's declining.

"Public support is declining for the measures that are being put in place and the Government's messaging and measures generally.

"Support is lower among men compared to women and it's slightly lower amongst young people."

She added: "I think we do need a nuanced approach to communicating to different groups in order to retain support.

“I am very, very, very concerned about the next few months and potential unrest.

"We've seen it globally around the world, groups that are spreading disinformation but also just gathering, as we've already seen in Scotland, to express distaste and distrust in the messaging and the guidance that has been given.

"We're going to have to be very careful to keep on top of that because history shows that followng pandemics, and there is research on this, there is social unrest and we need to be cognisant of that."

It comes after hundreds of Scots staged a demonstration outside the Scottish parliament at the weekend raising concerns over potential Covid-19 vaccines.

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