The SNP have banned travel to two English cities.
“Baffled” Scottish banned from Manchester. The ban was imposed even though travel to Scottish cities with the same level of COVID rates is still allowed. It has been described as “a new level of baffling” by some. Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday that travel to Manchester or Salford is off limits to the Scots unless it’s for essential travel. Her justification for the ban is that both cities have “high levels of COVID”.
Scottish people can, however, travel to Dundee which has similar rates of infections. Opponents to the SNP asked why there is a difference between Scottish and English cities. Over the past week in Dundee figures show there is a rate of 316.8 infections per 100,000 people and advisers to Sturgeon warned her this figure is set to rise. Manchester is showing 329.4 cases per 100,000 with Salford on 333.
Health spokeswoman for the Scottish Tories, Annie Wells, said “We’re used to the SNP bringing in Covid guidance that doesn’t make sense but this decision is a new level of baffling. They seem to have decided that Covid is more dangerous south of the border than the areas where it’s spreading more quickly in Scotland. The SNP should clear up the confusion and present evidence to back up this move.”
When Ms Sturgeon was questioned on the ban she replied “Manchester and Salford currently have high levels of Covid, and so from Monday onwards, non-essential travel between Scotland and those cities is not permitted.
Now I realise that for those with family or friends in Manchester or Salford, or for anyone who was simply planning a visit, this is disappointing. But rates of Covid in these cities are particularly high at the moment and these restrictions are intended to minimise the risk of either exacerbating the situation there or indeed allowing more virus to come back here to Scotland.”
She added “We’ve got the levels system in Scotland that determines whether and when travel restrictions are imposed within Scotland. I don’t want to be imposing travel restrictions anywhere. We’re doing this because, advised by clinicians, we make assessments of how to minimise the risk of more virus coming into Scotland, or people travelling from Scotland exacerbating the situation elsewhere.” SNP Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said “Nobody wants travel restrictions in place for any longer than is absolutely necessary.
Placing restrictions on travel between Scotland and Manchester and Salford has only been taken after extremely careful consideration and analysis of data to help prevent the spread of variants of concern.”