PUBLIC health expert Devi Sridhar has voiced concern over the news that thousands of cars are crossing into Scotland every day from the north of England, where the Covid-19 infection rate is rising.

Scotland’s R number – the measure of the rate at which coronavirus is being passed on – was confirmed to have fallen to between 0.6 and 0.8 this afternoon. But across the Border n the north-west of England, it is thought the R number could be at one or above.

The region currently has the highest number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 in England, more than in London, the midlands or south-west.

The National:

Devi Sridhar has been critical of the UK Government's approach to the pandemic

As Nicola Sturgeon praised the “very real progress” made on combatting the virus in Scotland today, Sridhar, the University of Edinburgh’s chair of global public health, warned the number of cars coming into the nation from areas with a higher infection rate could make things “bumpy”.

Reacting to the story, she tweeted: “This is going to be bumpy. Scotland making progress & clearly going cautiously to try to reduce numbers & push virus out. Deaths this week down and case numbers & R falling. England is opening up quickly against advice of key SAGE advisors.”

Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock and professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), clashed as the leading scientist warned the number of coronavirus infections is too high to further relax measures in England.

He said: “If we relax, this epidemic will come back really fast.

“I wish we had gone into lockdown earlier – I think that has cost a lot of lives unfortunately.”

The view was repeated by professor Neil Ferguson yesterday, who said if the UK Government had locked down a week earlier 25,000 lives could have been saved.

READ MORE: Covid-19: Thousands enter Scotland from area with rising R rate

England relaxed its lockdown measures weeks before Scotland, sending those who could not work from home back to work and announcing plans to reopen certain services more quickly. Next week in England non-essential shops will be allowed to open if social distancing is followed.

Boris Johnson last night announced social “bubbles” will allow people living alone in England to act like a member of one other household, meaning some people will get to see a small number of family members or friends without social distancing from this weekend.

Those shielding in England are also now allowed to go outside with one other person as long as they stay two-metres apart at all times. But with concerns over England’s contact tracing scheme’s preparedness, some experts feel England’s relaxation of rules is happening too fast.

Sridhar is one of the experts who has been critical of the UK Government’s approach to the pandemic.

She has said Scotland “has a chance” in fighting the coronavirus if it moves away from England’s approach.