Nicola Sturgeon has been urged not to impose nationwide Covid restrictions on Scotland this afternoon, due to fears a major tightening of the rules will damage the economy.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, speaking in the Commons, said any rule changes should be “as local as possible”.
The comments come ahead of the first minister’s press conference, in which she is expected to announce a mini, two-week lockdown with pubs and restaurants possibly forced to shut as soon as this weekend.
Ms Sturgeon told a daily briefing on Tuesday that she had been given “very strong” public health advice that tougher measures would be needed to deal with skyrocketing cases of coronavirus.
“The situation is not out of control, but it is a cause of concern,” the first minister added.
The rolling seven-day average number of daily cases has soared from 285 in Scotland two weeks ago to 729.
Speaking during Scotland questions, Mr Jack said: “I would just encourage, to protect the Scottish economy, the Scottish Government to make those restrictions that are coming forward as local as possible.”
Chancellor’s ‘flippant response’
His comments came as shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of a “flippant response” to safeguarding jobs.
He said: “The government doesn’t seem to see that the health and economic responses to Covid are one and the same thing.
“What message does the secretary of state have for those workers on the precipice of losing their jobs and those business owners on the verge of losing their viable businesses, or is it simply a flippant response, as the Chancellor said yesterday to the culture sector, that they’re simply to retrain and get new jobs?
“The reality on the ground is: the Chancellor’s measures simply do not go far enough to protect jobs.”
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