Scotland - Are we attempting the impossible?

Huntergreed

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In Scotland, it’s clear that Sturgeon and her government have their minds set on eliminating the virus and genuinely believe this is the correct approach to take, however I have multiple concerns with the approach being taken here:
  • Given that England is not following an elimination approach, I would argue it’s almost impossible to eliminate the virus here without closing the border (which is completely unfeasible). Does this mean that we’re going to constantly be facing local lockdowns for as little as 5-10 cases whenever someone with England comes up to Scotland? This is not at all sustainable or practical.
  • We have no formal exit strategy. Once the virus is eliminated, I think it’s clear that the restrictions will likely be kept for a while to prevent any cases appearing and spreading. What is the criteria for lifting these restrictions in the long term? We seem very hellbent on eliminating the virus but I don’t see this is a way out of the crisis, simply a way of prolonging the restrictions.
  • How are we going to initiate a positive, sustainable economic recovery when these restrictions are going to keep on going until the virus is eliminated? (which I’m convinced is impossible for as long as England isn’t doing the same).
    I just don’t see this is a sustainable method of dealing with this, Scotland alone cannot and will never be able to eliminate the virus, and Sturgeon has stated that she does not feel she can lift restrictions until this is done, how long is it going to take for her to change her stance and, if she does not, how are we going to prevent irreparable economic damage from being done?
 
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deltic

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Given New Zealand is reporting new outbreaks despite virtually sealing its borders its difficult to see how a zero level of cases can ever be achieved
 

AdamWW

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In Scotland, it’s clear that Sturgeon and her government have their minds set on eliminating the virus and genuinely believe this is the correct approach to take, however I have multiple concerns with the approach being taken here:
  • We have no formal exit strategy. Once the virus is eliminated, I think it’s clear that the restrictions will likely be kept for a while to prevent any cases appearing and spreading. What is the criteria for lifting these restrictions in the long term? We seem very hellbent on eliminating the virus but I don’t see this is a way out of the crisis, simply a way of prolonging the restrictions.
The logical answer to that one is you lift restrictions when you are confident that any outbreaks can be dealt with by re-imposing local lockdowns or other measured.

I think it's a bit early to say whether this approach can work somewhere like New Zealand. I find it rather hard to see how it works with an open border to a country which still has coronavirus circulating.
 

Yew

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Not technically impossible, but there are certainly very long odds! And that's before you consider the suffering caused by all these measures!
 

BJames

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My opinion remains that it will be incredibly difficult to eliminate the virus in Scotland while travel between England and Scotland is still possible. But given that:

-The border is as porous as the borders between different English counties
-People on both sides of the border can work on the other side of the border
-Attempting to get English citizens to quarantine on arrival to Scotland would be incredibly difficult
-Boris has (in his own bumbly way) denied that the border between England and Scotland exists in a relevant way

I can't see how Scotland could eliminate the virus for more than the short term without it coming back into circulation. As seen in New Zealand, which has much stricter border controls. The only way it might start to become feasible is if England (and Wales) also pursued an elimination strategy at the same time, but we're not, and I doubt we will either.
 

Scotrail12

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With regards to the restrictions, we’re really not that different to England now. In fact, Glasgow & Edinburgh are both busier than London and have been for nearly 2 months now.

Whilst I don’t like Sturgeon’s way of handling this, I think this is being blown out of proportion a bit.
 

farci

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I think it's a bit early to say whether this approach can work somewhere like New Zealand. I find it rather hard to see how it works with an open border to a country which still has coronavirus circulating.
Norway with policy similar to Scotland and Sweden, two neighbours with open borders
“Comparing Norway and Denmark to Sweden, the lockdown measures have been dramatically effective in reducing the pressure on the healthcare system. If Norway and Denmark would have followed the Swedish example, Norway would, at the peak, have had more than three times as many COVID19-patients in hospitals. Denmark would have experienced an increase of 133 per cent.”
https://partner.sciencenorway.no/ep...-reduced-hospitalizations-drastically/1701510
I’m only an observer. With your knowledge I would appreciate your take on this
 
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DavidB

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It's just not feasible. Before the world lost its sense of reality some time earlier this year, anybody claiming that an easily-transmitted airborne virus with worldwide spread could be eliminated by trying to suppress it would have been laughed at.

If a vaccine appears then things will change a bit, but even then it's not likely to be possible to eliminate it in less time than it would take to cause social and economic breakdown due to the restrictive measures needed.
 

DavidB

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Norway with policy similar to Scotland and Sweden, two neighbours with open borders
“Comparing Norway and Denmark to Sweden, the lockdown measures have been dramatically effective in reducing the pressure on the healthcare system. If Norway and Denmark would have followed the Swedish example, Norway would, at the peak, have had more than three times as many COVID19-patients in hospitals. Denmark would have experienced an increase of 133 per cent.”

I will post the reference ASAP. I’m only an observer. With your knowledge I would appreciate your take on this
But will Sweden stay at a steady rate, while it comes back to a higher level in Norway? We don't know yet, but it's certainly possible.
 

DavidB

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Well given that nationalists seem to be bulk in favour of quarantine for English people.... Or simply even forbidding travel entirely.

Sounds like a good way to get a border by stealth.

The language coming from the nationalist camp is turning increasingly nasty and atavistic.
It's not hard to see where this might be going - they could demand border enforcement, which would probably be refused (it's not devolved), and that could then be used as a level to demand another referendum...
 

farci

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Well given that nationalists seem to be bulk in favour of quarantine for English people.... Or simply even forbidding travel entirely.

Sounds like a good way to get a border by stealth.

The language coming from the nationalist camp is turning increasingly nasty and atavistic.
Have you considered the 'nationalist camp' might simply be following the advice of the World Health Organisation?
 

HSTEd

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Have you considered the 'nationalist camp' might simply be following the advice of the World Health Organisation?
I'm not sure how you get from "suppress suppress suppress" to "Quarantine the English"
 

Butts

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Don't worry there are a lot of us up here who are not "Little Scotlanders" and remain level headed.
 

Bantamzen

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The logical answer to that one is you lift restrictions when you are confident that any outbreaks can be dealt with by re-imposing local lockdowns or other measured.

I think it's a bit early to say whether this approach can work somewhere like New Zealand. I find it rather hard to see how it works with an open border to a country which still has coronavirus circulating.
I would have thought that New Zealand, with its rapid shutting of borders & quarantine measures would have been the perfect example of why their measures cannot eradicate the virus? For all their posturing, it seems that covid was bubbling away underneath their radar, only to pop up and bite them on their posterior. And this is what viruses have been doing for pretty much their entire existence. So if Scotland's approach is to completely eradicate covid they are going to need to come up with some way of isolating themselves from the rest of the world, forever.
 

Jayden99

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I think it's become a pretty partisan issue in Scotland, looking in as I don't live there any more. I do think there is an element of "If it's Nicola doing it then I don't like it" and I would suspect that has a lot to do with some of the reactions on here. That said, with New Zealand having a resurgence of community transmission despite a very strict lockdown does make me a bit more sceptical of the approach than I was previously. I also think there isn't the massive difference between approaches that was evident when lockdown was more strict, pubs are open, you wear face coverings in shops, and local lockdowns seem to be the method going forward. Regularly spending time in both countries, everything feels the same with maybe a different brand here and there.
 

philosopher

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I would have thought that New Zealand, with its rapid shutting of borders & quarantine measures would have been the perfect example of why their measures cannot eradicate the virus? For all their posturing, it seems that covid was bubbling away underneath their radar, only to pop up and bite them on their posterior. And this is what viruses have been doing for pretty much their entire existence. So if Scotland's approach is to completely eradicate covid they are going to need to come up with some way of isolating themselves from the rest of the world, forever.
The outbreak in New Zealand should really put an end to the fantasy that Covid can be eliminated. If New Zealand can’t do it with all their geographical advantages, then the propects for eliminating elsewhere do not look promising.
 

Bantamzen

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The outbreak in New Zealand should really put an end to the fantasy that Covid can be eliminated. If New Zealand can’t do it with all their geographical advantages, then the propects for eliminating elsewhere do not look promising.
It should, but sadly it won't. There are far too many people out there that think we can just stare down the virus, or at least hide behind the sofa until its gone.
 

317 forever

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The outbreak in New Zealand should really put an end to the fantasy that Covid can be eliminated. If New Zealand can’t do it with all their geographical advantages, then the propects for eliminating elsewhere do not look promising.
Even if New Zealand behaves in many respects like an Island (actually 2 Islands) and closes off its borders, they will still need a few imports of essential medicine for example. This can lead to Coronavirus being imported by accident through transportation staff for example.

The only countries who may be able to eradicate Coronavirus altogether are those who do not depend on any imports or exports, and ban travel to or from the country altogether.

So, as Scotland depends on some imports from elsewhere including the EU and even the rest of the UK, the chances of Scotland eradicting Coronavirus are very little above 0.
 

scotrail158713

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Even if New Zealand behaves in many respects like an Island (actually 2 Islands) and closes off its borders, they will still need a few imports of essential medicine for example. This can lead to Coronavirus being imported by accident through transportation staff for example.

The only countries who may be able to eradicate Coronavirus altogether are those who do not depend on any imports or exports, and ban travel to or from the country altogether.

So, as Scotland depends on some imports from elsewhere including the EU and even the rest of the UK, the chances of Scotland eradicting Coronavirus are very little above 0.
And let’s be honest, what countries don’t rely on any imports at all? Eradication really isn’t a feasible option, as, hopefully, many people are now realising. (Although if every country worldwide had gone for the same approach it would’ve been - but that didn’t happen so this is where we are)
 

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