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Scots with colds should wear face coverings on public transport to ease the strain on healthcare systems, Nicola Sturgeon said today.
The SNP leader, who held a pandemic-style press briefing in Edinburgh on the NHS winter crisis, admitted hospitals were running low amid a surge in Covid and flu cases.
She said all people over the age of 12 should wear masks on trains and buses, stay home when possible if they have a cough or cold, and take “basic” precautions such as washing their hands more often.
Similar advice was issued for all Britons last week, with health chiefs urging sick people to stay home from school and work and wear a mask if they have to go out.
Ms Sturgeon said the country is struggling with ‘extraordinary’ levels of winter flu, while Covid hospital admissions have doubled in a month and there has been an increase in Strep A. Covid.
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Ms Sturgeon said all over 12s should wear masks on trains and buses, stay home where possible if they have a cough or cold and take ‘basic’ precautions such as washing their hands more often
Nicola Sturgeon hosted a Covid-style press briefing today as she faced backlash for focusing on her drive to split the UK rather than the NHS crisis
The SNP leader will be questioned alongside Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch and embattled health spokesman Humza Yousaf (pictured)
Ms Sturgeon said the advice is an attempt to reduce hospital admissions.
Staff for the NHS 24 helpline will also be reinforced, while GP surgeries will open on Saturdays to increase capacity.
Under an intense whim, Mrs Sturgeon said: ‘We are facing exceptional problems which are not unique to Scotland…
“In a relative sense, NHS Scotland is coping better with this pressure.”
She added: ‘In addition to Covid, the country has been experiencing extraordinary levels of winter flu, with more than 1,000 patients hospitalized with flu in the past two weeks.
Finally, there has also been an increasing number of cases of Strep A and other respiratory viruses, which has led to significant demand for services.
“So the impact of this combination of Covid, flu and Strep A is evident in the metrics that measure the demand for health services.”
SNP health spokesman Humza Yousaf admitted yesterday that the health service north of the border is in turmoil, with warnings that record emergency waiting times and delayed discharges are costing their lives.
A poll has suggested Scots want the SNP to focus on NHS chaos and the cost of living rather than trying to force an independence referendum.
Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon faces a huge row over her plans to relax gender identity rules in Scotland, lower age limits and remove the need for a medical diagnosis.
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