Scotland urges caution over saying we are 'past the peak' of coronavirus

1 May 2020, 14:11 | Updated: 1 May 2020, 14:30

Nicola Sturgeon has urged caution on Boris Johnson's claim we are past the peak
Nicola Sturgeon has urged caution on Boris Johnson's claim we are past the peak. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged caution following remarks by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that we are "past the peak" of coronavirus.

Speaking at her daily press conference, Ms Sturgeon refused to follow suit with Mr Johnson, who yesterday announced the country had passed the worst of Covid-19 infections.

She said: "I am cautious about talking about being past the peak...the peak is not necessarily a single day or a couple of days.”

Her Interim Chief Medical Officer Gregor Smith agreed with Ms Sturgeon and said: "I’d be very cautious about saying we’re through the peak at this stage.

"There are encouraging signs of a decline in the number of cases but we can’t say any more than that.”

Boris Johnson claimed yesterday we were "past the peak" of coronavirus
Boris Johnson claimed yesterday we were "past the peak" of coronavirus. Picture: PA

He added: “We’ll only know we’re past the peak when we’re out on the other side because the margins are so small...all it would take is subtle shifts in the way people are behaving for us to back to exponential growth.“

Her claim is the latest example of the Scottish government breaking rank with Westminster in the information given to citizens.

Last week, Ms Sturgeon announced recommendations for people to wear face covering when in shops or on public transport.

By face covering, the Scottish Government "do not mean the wearing of a surgical or other medical grade mask but a facial covering of the mouth and nose, that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf."

Dr Gregor Smith, pictured with Ms Sturgeon, said he would also urge caution on the claim
Dr Gregor Smith, pictured with Ms Sturgeon, said he would also urge caution on the claim. Picture: PA

But in England and Wales, the government has advised against the use of face coverings in public, despite evidence in some countries claiming their use can help stop people spreading and catching the disease.

During yesterdays Downing Street press conference, however, Mr Johnson said face coverings "will be useful" in avoiding another peak, and said advice on them will be given next week.

He said: "I think what SAGE is saying, and what I certainly agree with, is that as part of coming out of the lockdown, I do think that face coverings will be useful, both for epidemiological reasons but also for giving people confidence that they can go back to work and you be hearing more about that next week."

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