Douglas Ross says severe restrictions 'unthinkable' as circuit breaker reports emerge
Douglas Ross has said the First Minister should inform the public immediately if a circuit breaker lockdown is under consideration by the Scottish Government.
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives said a return to strict restrictions in the near future would be "devastating" to people in Scotland.
It comes after more than 5,000 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in the country yesterday - the sharp rise followed Nicola Sturgeon's comments that the pandemic has reached "another fragile and potentially very pivotal moment".
A report in the Times said health experts are lining up a series of options for the First Minister to stem the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, including a circuit breaker, new social distancing rules and vaccine passports.
Ross said: "Nicola Sturgeon should be honest about the government’s plans and inform people immediately if she is even contemplating a return to the most damaging COVID restrictions.
"Returning to a strict lockdown in the near future would be devastating to people across Scotland. That should not be on the table, now that our vaccine scheme has been so successful.
"Severe restrictions are unthinkable, without the imminent threat of a new variant. COVID is not overwhelming our NHS, it is under pressure because of the SNP’s poor plans, such as the flimsy PR pamphlet they produced this week.
"Nicola Sturgeon promised time and again that the vaccine scheme would allow us to move forward without restrictions, yet her government already seems to be planning for their return.
"Our fight against Covid should now focus on increasing the pace of the vaccine rollout among younger people and by improving the Test and Protect system, not by returning to damaging restrictions that would crush our economic recovery and impact mental and physical health."
On Tuesday, the First Minister refused to rule out reimposing some restrictions if the surge in cases leads to a "substantial increase in serious illness" among people in Scotland.
Despite the success of the vaccination programme, the increase in cases is causing concern.
Sturgeon said: "The link between new cases and serious health harms has weakened significantly, but it has not been completely broken.
"That means the rise in cases in the last week may well result in more people having to go to hospital in the coming days, perhaps requiring intensive care treatment and unfortunately a rise in cases like this will still lead, I consider likely to be the case, in an increase in numbers of people dying.
"And that also means that if the surge continues and if it accelerates and if we start to see evidence of a substantial increase in serious illness as a result, we cannot completely rule out having to reimpose some restrictions.
"Of course, we hope not to have to do that and if we did, we would be as limited, and as proportionate as possible."