A document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life has today been published by the Scottish Government.
The paper – COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making – sets out the position during this ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as we move gradually to ease restrictions. It also recognises that new ways of living – effectively a “new normal” – may have to be in place for some time to come.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Today I am seeking to start a grown-up conversation with the public about the complex decisions that lie ahead of us as we look beyond lockdown.
“As we have done all along, we will seek to inform the public with the best scientific advice possible, but the science will never be exact and we are in uncharted territory so we also need to make careful judgements and be prepared to adapt and change course as we go. We want to ease restrictions, but we cannot rule out having to reapply them should the virus run out of control.
“Every day we see evidence that this virus causes real harm, but so too do the lockdown measures we are taking to contain it. This is causing harm to the economy and living standards, to children’s education and to mental health and wellbeing.
“That is why we need to try to find a better balance than the one we have now, but as we do so we cannot take our eye off the need to suppress the virus and minimise the damage it does. It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.
“As we start to lift the restrictions, the real risk is that COVID-19 runs rampant again so a return to normal as we knew it is not on the cards in the near future. What we will be seeking to find is a new normal – a way of living alongside this virus, but in a form that keeps it under control.
“Physical distancing and limiting our contacts with others will be a fact of life for a long time to come – certainly until treatments and ultimately a vaccine offer different solutions. But if we all keep doing the right things, there will be a way through – and we will find it, together.”