The UK Covid Inquiry has now turned its spotlight to Scotland and will be held in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett. The Inquiry has already promoted worrisome speculations on Scottish ministers from the media due to several reasons, such as the lack of coordination between England and Scotland and several lockdown and healthcare policies. In addition, the Scottish government was criticised at the end of 2023 for not handing in relevant information, such as WhatsApp messages, to be scrutinised.
The former first minister of Scotland, the former leader of SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, and current first Minister Humza Yousaf and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, have been confirmed to be on the list to be quizzed in the following week.
Towards the end of the third day, the Inquiry pinpointed and summarised several policy overlooks from 2020 that could have been handled more appropriately. To begin with, was the "potential confusion over Covid restriction levels" as Scotland adopted a 'new five-level system' whereas in England, a three-tier system was adopted.
The director of People Policy in the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) claimed that there was a miscommunication between the local and Scottish governments, resulting in the concentration of decision power concerning lockdown measures on a central level.
The Scottish Care chief executive, Dr Donald Macaskill, revealed that the ambiguous admission guidance in care homes led to staff dilemmas and unnecessary deaths due to the government's sudden change of admission rule. Moreover, Macaskill also denounced the government's preach of 'social distancing', claiming that it was "really far-fetched" in the care home setting and would only traumatise the residents. Lastly, he criticised the "lack of engagement" from Scotland's national public health body, Public Health Scotland, which contradicts the organisation's strategic planning.
Looking back on the UK Covid inquiry down in England a month ago, it has exposed shocking internal details on policymakers' decisions and comments that were unknown to the public—highlighting a grilling secession of the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where the former PM was struggling to face his own scandalous and indifferent comments due to his lack of awareness and the intensity of the pandemic. Now that the tables have turned, the Scottish public can stay tuned for the upcoming quizzing from the Inquiry.
Edited By: Josh Reidelbach
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