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Iran Press TV

Division emerges between Edinburgh and London over elderly quarantine

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 15 March 2020 6:57 PM

As the British government's laissez-faire approach to tackling the coronavirus outbreak comes under further criticism, the Scottish government in Edinburgh has distanced itself from key aspects of Downing Street's strategy.

With its controversial plan to promote so-called "herd immunity" under increasing fire, Westminster has now resorted to making policy on the hoof to assuage an increasingly skeptical domestic and international audience.

Earlier today, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, told Sky News that over-70s will be asked to self-isolate "in the coming weeks".

In an interview with the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Hancock said the self-isolation could "potentially last for months".

When pushed by Sky News' Sophy Ridge on whether the elderly could be asked to isolate for up to "four months", Hancock replied: "That is in the action plan, yes".

But the Scottish government hit back immediately against Hancock's plans to segregate the elderly by saying it had "no plans" to follow suit. The Scottish government claims it will ask the elderly to "reduce social contact" instead.

In a statement, the Scottish health and sport secretary, Jeane Freeman, said: "We don't want people who are elderly to be stuck in their homes alone not contacting anyone, with their families not able to be in touch with them and to help them.

"What we're saying to them is, reduce your contact", Freeman added.

As if to underscore its profound disagreement with Downing Street on the best way to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, the Scottish government has also published its guidance that gatherings of 500 people or more should not take place in Scotland.

Notwithstanding its lack of authority to call off events, the Scottish government has nonetheless urged organisers to "act responsibly" in cancelling large gatherings from tomorrow (March 16) in order to stem the tide of the coronavirus outbreak in Scotland.

The disagreement between London and Edinburgh is unfolding against a steep rise of coronavirus infections in Scotland which according to the latest figures stand at 153. So far in Scotland there has been one death attributed to the Covid-19 disease.

In the UK as a whole the total number of infections has risen to 1,372 cases with 35 registered deaths.

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