What are you basing decisions on? SNPs Swinney grilled as Sturgeon reviews Covid rules

Scotland's Deputy First Minister grilled over Covid-19 data

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Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney discussed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to release new data on Covid cases on Friday. BBC’s The Nine host Laura Maciver held Mr Swinney to account after the SNP MSP faced criticism for providing misleading data on Covid previously. Ms Maciver pushed for proper facts and statistics on hospitalisations and treatment for Covid versus the number of people who report a positive test and don’t require any further treatment.

Ms Maciver said: “We’re waiting for hospital data to tell us more detail about the number of people in hospital with Covid, or as a result of having Covid.

“And the opposition parties were critical today of the fact that data is still coming.

“We’re told it’s coming on Friday. Why has the First Minister not seen this data? And if you as a government haven’t seen it this week, what are you basing your decisions on?”

Mr Swinney said: “Well, this data is important because it will give us some further detail that can influence the Handling of the pandemic.

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“But I think what’s important is for us to focus on the levels of hospitalisation of people with Covid – that’s an inescapable number just now.

Mr Swinney added: “And that number has been rising quite significantly in the course of the last.”

The BBC host said: “But that’s people who have tested positive for Covid, it doesn’t tell you if they’re being treated for the effects of Covid.”

Mr Swinney said: “That – but, they may well be being treated for the impact of Covid, but that data will become available.

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“And what the key point the First Minister was making on this question is the fact that whether an individual is in hospital with Covid or because of Covid.

Mr Swinney added: “They still need to be treated, and as a consequence that puts a burden on the National Health Service.

“It affects the capacity of the health service because it requires further self-isolation or isolating measures to be in place to control the spread of the pandemic.”

Ms Maciver said: “Absolutely but it also dictates how you make decisions, and it also dictates how the rest of us live our lives, this kind of knowledge, it’s important.”

Mr Swinney added: “Well that’s right, so it flows into the wider discussion and decision making.

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Mr Swinney added: “The government is making about the appropriate levels of restrictions and the appropriate constraints that we should have in place.

“So, the government is under an obligation to ensure that the measures that we take on an ongoing basis are proportionate measures.

“That they take account of the fact that, of the prevalence of the pandemic and what’s the appropriate steps for us to take to try to control it.”

According to the data released last week by the Scottish Government, Scotland had higher reported cases of Covid than England with 1,900 cases per 100,000 of the population.

The UK government data shows 1,700 reported cases out of 100,000.

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