Scottish Government fails to 'answer legitimate questions' on Covid-19 risk, claims MSP

The Scottish Government has been accused of making ‘unscientific’ decisions in its Covid-19 policy by a Scottish Labour MSP.

The Scottish Government has been accused of making unscientific decisions around Covid-19
The Scottish Government has been accused of making unscientific decisions around Covid-19

Neil Findlay, MSP for Lothian, accused the Scottish Government of making decisions based on “assertion rather than science” in relation to coronavirus policy.

He also criticised the openness of the Scottish Government, saying it was “not even attempting to answer” questions on the scientific basis for policy.

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Mr Findlay’s comments come following an answer to a written question from health secretary Jeane Freeman, who was asked to outline the comparative “statistical risk” for catching or dying from Covid-19 in different settings and as a result of someone infected as a result of a positive case being discharged into a care home.

Within the list, he included schools, car sharing, drinking in a pub, attending a football match, and working in healthcare settings.

In her response, the health secretary said it was “impossible to assess exact risk” and outlined a range of risk factors that play a part in Covid-19 transmission.

However, she did not refer to the risks connected to specific settings and did not set out the comparative risk for any of the settings outlined in Mr Findlay’s question.

Ms Freeman said: “We know that indoors is worse than outdoors, poor ventilation is worse than good ventilation, large gatherings are worse than small and time and proximity are crucial risk factors.

"We also learn more about those who are at particular risk and our understanding continues to develop with many scientific articles published daily.

"The advice to the public from the WHO [World Health Organisation], the European CDC and governments, including the Scottish Government, has to therefore take account of this growing evidence base.

"The Scottish Government advice is under constant review and is based on science, risk and informing the public.”

Mr Findlay responded: "The government is not even attempting to answer legitimate questions about their approach to the Covid pandemic.

"It appears that policies restricting our rights and closing down businesses and causing jobs losses are based on assertion rather than science.

"If it was based on science, they would provide the information I asked for."

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