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Sturgeon backed by SAGE expert for 'listening to science' as Scots plot NYE border dash

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Professor Susan Michie, who advises the Government on coronavirus, has backed the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) decision to keep the ten-day isolation period. It comes after every other region in the UK reduced it to seven days. The Professor of health psychology at University College London told the BBC: “Scotland is doing something that is very good from a public health point of view, which is maximally effective for reducing transmission.

“The problem of bringing that down is, while it means more people can get back to work earlier, it also means more people will be going back to work with a virus and spreading it.

“One has to really trust that the best multidisciplinary advice has been taken and all factors have been taken into account in reaching a decision.

“The record of the Scottish government listening to scientific advice and acting in line with it has been very good indeed, so personally I would have a lot of trust in the Scottish government’s decision on this.”

It comes as England is facing a New Year’s Eve “invasion”.

English pubs are expecting an influx of Scottish and Welsh revellers with up to 100,000 people crossing to avoid stiffer Covid restrictions.

It came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out stiffer Covid restrictions for England this week despite the rise in cases, unlike the rest of the UK where new rules include the closure of nightclubs.

In Scotland, people heading out on December 31 also need to follow physical distancing in pubs and table service.

Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay celebration has had to be cancelled for a second successive year.

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While in Wales, a maximum of six people will be allowed to meet in pubs and two-metre social distancing will be enforced.

John Swinney, Scotland’s deputy first minister, said travelling to England to bypass the closure of all nightclubs in Scotland would be the “wrong course of action” and went against the spirit of Scottish policy.

He added: “People are free to take those decisions, but I would discourage them from doing so.

“I think it is the wrong course of action for people to take because we have a serious situation we have got to manage and we encourage everybody to play their part in addressing that.”

In a message posted on social media on Friday morning, Mr Johnson describes how the UK is in an “incomparably better” position than this time last year.

But he said those celebrating New Year’s Eve still needed to be cautious.

He added: “Whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about Omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals, we can say one thing with certainty, our position this December 31 is incomparably better than last year.”



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