Covid-19: Nicola Sturgeon hits back at Jack’s economic demands

SCOTLAND’S First Minister has reminded Alister Jack of the need to prioritise suppressing and eradicating Covid-19 as he called on her to move more quickly in reopening the economy.

Speaking to the BBC this morning the Scottish Secretary pointed to Scotland’s falling reinfection rate and called for non-essential shops to reopen.

He told the broadcaster that tourism and hospitality firms have “big concerns” over two-metre social distancing rules and urged the First Minister to halve the recommended distance to one-metre “as soon as possible to do so”.

Yesterday the SNP leader announced that Scotland’s R number had fallen to between 0.6-0.8 from 0.7-0.9 at the last estimate – however she still urged caution, pointing out this figure did not yet reflect the changes to lockdown at the end of May.

On Twitter, Nicola Sturgeon responded to Jack’s demands, reminding him how Scotland had managed to reduce the coronavirus reinfection rate while parts of England see their R numbers rise.

READ MORE: This is why Scotland is better off without the UK’s economic mess

She wrote: “Cases, hospitalisations, deaths & R number are falling in Scotland because we’re pursuing a careful and orderly plan. That must continue. The more we suppress – and hopefully eradicate COVID – the more normality we can restore to the economy. Sustainability of recovery matters.”

Sturgeon went on: “*If* we can effectively eradicate COVID – and then control through Test & Protect & policies to mitigate against cases coming into country – we can restore much greater degree of normality. Decisions then about, eg, 2m v 1m are more possible. But first we must suppress/eradicate.”

Her warning to Jack (above) comes after it emerged the UK’s economy shrunk a record 20% in April as the Covid-19 lockdown hit.

According to the OECD, the UK – which has the second-highest death rate from Covid-19 – will be the developed country worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

They predicted an overall GDP decrease of 11.5% this year, worse than in France, Spain, Italy, the US, Sweden, Brazil and many other nations.

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