Nicola Sturgeon was asked by ITV’s Robert Peston whether the Eat Out To Help Out scheme was a bad idea. The Scottish First Minister said while the scheme was there to incentivise people, one of the main reasons COVID has spread is due to people coming together. But social media users were quick to hit out at the SNP leader and said there were other factors that caused the spike. It came after the Scottish First Minister admitted “maybe it would have been better if it hadn’t happened” – when referring to the scheme.
Speaking to ITV’s Peston, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think with hindsight we can say all sorts of things, maybe it would have been better if it hadn’t happened.
“I know that that scheme was about trying to incentivise people to help the economy, and we can’t be blind to the economic impact here, but we do know and I think it’s really important that if there are two key drivers in recent weeks.
“Obviously we’ve got university clusters just now but in recent weeks we’ve got two key drivers, and it’s about the people coming together have been in people’s houses, which is why in Scotland we’re asking people.
“Not to visit other people’s houses right now and that’s really difficult, but also in hospitality settings, where people are coming together and mingling.”
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Taking to Twitter, one furious viewer wrote: “Whatever Nicola you’re killing the future of our youth and the data doesn’t support it.”
Another added: “Where is her science to support her claims?”
A third person said: “********! It saved loads of jobs and the rate of infection was low. Winter flu season has started hence the increased cases.”
A fourth noted: “Ask her to produce the track and trace data from the scheme to justify her words. She will say she will but then won’t.”
She warned this must not give rise to complacency as young people can become seriously unwell from the virus and while the risk of dying is lower for these ages, it is not “non-existent”.
The First Minister said: “While we are seeing a significant number of cases in younger age groups, which is a phenomenon that we’ve seen across Europe in this latest surge of COVID, it is the case that transmission amongst older ages groups is also rising and let’s not pretend that that is not the case.
“Around a third of today’s cases are actually in the over-40 age group and there are a number in the over-60 age group, so transmission is rising across the spectrum of age ranges.”
She said to guard against transmission people with symptoms must self-isolate immediately and book a test.