Scotland will keep using the “stay at home” message even after coronavirus restrictions start to be lifted, Scotland’s interim chief medical officer has said.
Dr Gregor Smith said the Scottish Government will still be urging people to remain in their homes as much as possible to try to prevent a “resurgence” of Covid-19.
It follows the UK Government’s dropping of the “stay at home” slogan in favour of “stay alert” when lockdown measures were eased in England.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously described the stay alert message as “very vague” and urged Scots to “try to not get distracted” by messages from other parts of the UK.
Giving evidence to Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee, Dr Smith said: “Although we’re starting to change the way that these restrictions impact on people’s lives, the message is still to stay at home when you can.
“There will be a kind of easing of the circumstances whereby it is legitimate to leave your home.
“But actually, we still want to be conscious that the more we physically distance while starting to take that journey back to normality, the less likelihood there is of this disease resurging to any great extent in Scotland.”
Asked why the Scottish Government introduced changes to testing of care home residents and those returning from hospital, Dr Smith said by mid-April there was a “clinical case for testing that we could justify what’s quite an invasive test and quite an unpleasant test”.
While he stressed social distancing within care homes was recommended “right from the start”, Dr Smith said the updated policy of testing was due to “emerging information”.
He said: “There was, at that point, emerging evidence that we could learn more information that would enhance some of the approaches within the care homes to infection, prevention and control, and perhaps make sure that there was a much closer focus on isolation when it was necessary.”