As many European countries move to lift the last remaining COVID-19 restrictions, the Scottish SNP government is locking down its citizens with an additional six months of heavy-handed pandemic restrictions.
It’s no secret that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has no love for Boris Johnson, and the move appears to be a reaction to the British prime minister’s decision to lift all remaining restrictions before the end of the month.
Legislation mandating masks and vaccine passports was initially due to expire on February 28, however, it has been pushed back to September 24, with Deputy First Minister John Swinney telling the press it was important to keep options on the table, BBC reported.
The first minister added that ministers “believe it is necessary to retain the availability of these baseline measures for now while we review our ongoing response to COVID.”
Scottish ministers will continue to assess the restrictions every three weeks, with the next review coming up on February 22.
“The government is committed to regularly reviewing these regulations, as we are required to, and the continued removal of any measures considered no longer necessary,” he said.
The move was announced mere hours after Johnson announced the end date for the restrictions in England, which was moved ahead of schedule by a month due to findings that the Omicron variant is exceedingly mild in comparison to Delta.
As reported by Rebel News, all of England’s restrictions, including the legal requirement for self-isolation will expire at the end of the month. The government is advising those with COVID-19 to stay at home, but only in the same way it advises anyone with the flu to stay at home.
Both the Scottish and UK governments are to set out their long-term plans for living with fewer restrictions after the coming week of recess at Holyrood and Westminster.
But while Mr Johnson hinted that restrictions could come to an end early if case numbers continue to stabilise, the Scottish government has moved to extend the period in which they might continue to apply.
The Scottish government at Holyrood will continue to mandate the use of masks, vaccine certification, and the requirement for businesses and services to take steps to social distance and other forms of pandemic mitigation.