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England and Scotland should have the same coronavirus rules, says Jeremy Hunt

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
The changing face of the high street. People cast shadows walking past a social distancing information sign painted on the pavement on the high street in Dundee in Scotland, some six months on from the evening of March 23 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide restrictions. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
People cast shadows walking past a social distancing information sign painted on the pavement on the high street in Dundee in Scotland. (Getty)

Jeremy Hunt has urged the Scottish government to work with Westminster in coming up with a “single message” when it comes to coronavirus rules.

Yesterday Boris Johnson announced a raft of new measures for England to combat the uptick in coronavirus cases, which are expected to remain in place for six months.

However, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon implemented a tougher approach, including banning household visits across the whole of Scotland. Household visits are still permitted in England.

While the prime minister and Sturgeon are both implementing 10pm curfews on pubs and restaurants, former health secretary Hunt said England and Scotland should have exactly the same rules.

He told BBC Newsnight: "In a pandemic, the messaging is going to change because there is so much new evidence and new data coming forward.

"But I do think there have been problems with the messaging, particularly when there have been different messages coming out from local government and national government and different messages from the devolved administrations.

"I do think one thing that would really improve the situation is if our leaders got together and tried more effectively to come up with a single message."

Hunt said it was “not helpful for people on the basis of the same evidence to be coming up with different decisions”.

He added: ”I think it just confuses the public and then the public debate becomes, why are we allowed to do something in England and not allowed to do in Scotland?

"I think this is a time when we should be coming together with unified messages."

Asked about Sturgeon's new measures, which she says are an attempt to avoid a full second lockdown, Hunt said: "I would say, wherever possible it's much better to stick together because the simplicity of messaging is one of the things that will make the biggest difference with people complying with the rules."

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Scotland has continued to increase in recent weeks, with the average number of new cases every day reaching 285, compared to only seven a day in July.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces her plans to halt the spread of coronavirus at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, on September 22, 2020. - A ban on visiting other people's homes is to be imposed across Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The First Minister also confirmed that Scotland would be following England in imposing a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEFF J MITCHELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon announces her plans to halt the spread of coronavirus at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. (Getty)

383 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday, the highest daily total since 15 April.

Speaking in the wake of the figures, Sturgeon said: ”The measures I am announcing today are tough – I will not pretend otherwise – but they do not represent a full-scale lockdown of the kind imposed in March.

"Indeed, today's measures are an attempt to avoid another lockdown.

"By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: People watch British Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation inside the Westminster Arms pub on September 22, 2020 in London, England. The UK Prime Minister announced extra measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 cases in the House of Commons today. From Thursday face masks will become compulsory for bar staff, shop workers, waitering staff and taxi drivers. Office workers should work from home where possible and all pubs, bars and restaurants must offer table service only and close by 10pm.  (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
People watch Boris Johnson making a televised address to the nation inside the Westminster Arms pub. (Getty)

In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday night, the prime minister blamed coronavirus rule-breakers for a rise in cases, as he warned of the potential for a second lockdown.

Johnson said there have been “too many breaches”, allowing the “invisible enemy to slip through”.

The new measures for England also include encouraging office staff to work from home and wedding attendance being cut from 30 to 15.

Coronavirus: what happened today

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