Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell has said that the public must prepare for restrictions on normal life to continue for some time.

The comments come as the Scottish Government published a new document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life.

The paper – COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making – sets out the position during this ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as we move gradually to ease restrictions.

It also recognises that new ways of living – effectively a “new normal” – may have to be in place for some time to come.

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said:

“It is welcome that the Scottish Government has published an outline of how and when the lockdown may be lifted and I urge everyone to take the time to read the document.

“It is vital that any decision to ease restrictions is based on the best scientific advice possible – but we are in uncharted territory and we must be prepared to adapt. That might mean having to reapply restrictions after they are lifted.

“It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.

“There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to be clear about the factors that will inform decision making.

“In the coming days and weeks members of the public will be invited to contribute their thoughts and views on the next steps we must make together.

“Unfortunately, returning to what we regard as a normal life will not be possible in the near future so we need to prepare for a new normal until treatments and a vaccine offer different solutions.

“While these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”

PUBLIC ENCOURAGED TO BE VIGILANT AND REPORT SCAMS 

MSP for Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell has encouraged people in Argyll and Bute to be aware of scams and fake news following an increase in reports across Scotland about scam emails, text messages, and doorstep callers. 

Across the UK there is evidence fraudsters are increasingly targeting members of the public, as well as organisations of all sizes, with emails, texts, telephone calls, social media messages and online shopping scams relating to the outbreak.

Police Scotland have now launched a new Shut Out Scammers resource to protect the public and businesses from COVID-19 related scams. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also launched an email reporting service, which the public can use to report any suspicious activity.

Michael Russell MSP said: 

“While the community response to the coronavirus outbreak in Argyll and Bute has been overwhelmingly positive, it’s disappointing to see a few individuals taking advantage of the situation with unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages. 

“During this coronavirus crisis, everyone in Argyll and Bute should take extra care to ensure that they only share information from trusted sources, ask for identification from all doorstep callers, and never hand over any personal information.

“It’s vital that people in Argyll and Bute remain vigilant against scams during this challenging time and report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.”