Coronavirus Scotland: A “cost” would bring Christmas relaxation

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A health expert has cautioned that there would be a “cost” to enabling household shuffling in Scotland on Christmas Day.

On December 25, just before mainland Scotland entered phase four restrictions on Boxing Day, Scots were able to communicate with three households.

Professor Jackie Taylor, president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, said, “If increased mixing occurs, we know that increased transmission is likely to occur.”

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The levels of [Scotland] have never dropped to the sort of levels we would want, so we’re starting from a higher foundation.

“In addition, the new variant of the strain that we’re seeing seems to be significantly more transmissible, and that gives us great cause for concern, so when we add that to the usual winter strains, we’re really very concerned about the potential for another big wave of cases.”

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, she did not oppose the decision of the Scottish government to one day relax the rules.

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“We need to remember our humanity and how important it is for some people to have the opportunity to be with their family even for a short time,” she said.

“I think it’s absolutely right that restrictions have been eased just for this day, but there will inevitably be a cost.”

Over the New Year, she encouraged all to stop combining households and to note the rules over the Christmas season of hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks.

Dr. Taylor also warned that, due to Covid-19, non-urgent procedures in Scotland would have to pause.

She said, “Over the last nine months, everybody has been working to catch up, and we will continue to do that.”

“But the harsh reality is that in some places that are under pressure, some of that non-urgent work needs to be paused, we need to focus on urgent work and we need to be able to roll out the vaccination program.”

“She added, “Covid’s secret harms are both in terms of operations and all sorts of other harms and economic costs to social and mental health that we are all very, very conscious of.

“As healthcare professionals, we want to be able to treat everyone, we want to make sure everyone gets the best care, but if we don’t get Covid under control and really get to the forefront of this problem, we’re not going to be able to reopen the other services.”

“We need to focus on getting a handle on the acute problems we have right now.”

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