GLOBAL public health expert Devi Sridhar set out what she feels Scotland has done right compared to the UK Government in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Channel 4 News last night Sridhar, who advises the Scottish Government on its fight against coronavirus, was asked what she felt Holyrood had “got right” over the last few months.

Sridhar told Jon Snow: “I would point to three things – the first would be we had a lockdown that lasted longer. We were generally two to three weeks behind, so we still have had the Stay at Home message, most people cannot travel more than five miles outside of where they live.

“The second was going immediately for local tracing, and not relying on an app – using local public health boards.

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“And the third was trust in government. There’s a very high level of trust in government and compliance with measures and that’s what I’ve been quite amazed about.”

Throughout the pandemic, a succession of polls have found people believe First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has done a better job in handling the crisis than Boris Johnson’s government.

There have now been no deaths from Covid-19 in Scotland for four days in a row – and Sridhar has said the virus could be eliminated by the end of the summer if the country continues to see a decline in new cases.

However, in England, some scientists are concerned there could be a further 30,000 deaths from the virus if the number of cases there remain at their current level, and there are also fears from experts that Johnson’s planned reopening of bars, pubs and restaurants this weekend has come too soon.

Meanwhile in England there have been issues with the coronavirus track and trace programme, which is operated by private firm Serco. A Survation poll recently found that 40% of people would be less likely to take part in the programme because it is managed by a private company.

READ MORE: Nearly half of public don't trust Serco to deliver virus testing scheme

Speaking to Channel 4, Sridhar was also asked about the latest development of a local lockdown being implemented in Leicester due to a spike in Covid-19 cases there.

Some 10% of all coronavirus cases in the UK in the past week cam from the city. People there must now avoid all but essential travel, while non-essential retail outlets will have to shut. Planned reopenings of bars, pubs and cafes this weekend will not apply to Leicester.

Addressing the change, Sridhar said: “One danger, and we’ve seen this in the past with local lockdowns, is you have a fleeing of people from the place they’re being locked down out of the area and spreading the infection with them. And so I think local lockdowns have to be approached very cautiously – and you also have to have the buy-in of the local community. 

“I think one of the problems here that we’ve already seen is a disconnect between what is being said in London and actually what’s being said in Leicester itself – actually the people there not feeling like they’ve been involved in that decision.”

Describing how she sees the path forward in a return to normality, the chair of Global Public Health at Edinburgh University told the programme: “I think Scotland set out a strategy which is you’re trying to get to zero Covid, you’re trying to push this virus to the margins of society. Because that’s how you get schools open, that’s how you get those who are shielding out, so they can be circulating and interacting with the rest of society, and that’s how you get actually normality back. It’s through suppressing the virus to a level where your testing and tracing can do the work.

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“I think what we’ve seen in England is they have lifted lockdown restrictions, probably back in May, just way too early, instead of using the time to build up the testing and tracing and so sadly I think we’re going to be seeing more lockdowns in the future especially as pubs and indoor locations open, given we know how the virus transmits indoors.”

Sridhar has said that Scotland is “not far away” from the goal of keeping Covid-19 under control, but the “challenge” is to keep it at that low level.

The First Minister has welcomed the progress, but stresses people must continue to follow the Scottish Government’s guidance and social distancing rules to avoid fresh spikes seen in other countries which have reopened in recent weeks.