A SCIENTIFIC adviser to the UK Government has said Westminster can learn from Scotland’s approach to tackling coronavirus.

Professor Robert West, a member of SPI-B – a group which provides behavioural science advice regarding the pandemic to the UK Government – told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he didn’t think the public south of the Border has a clear sense of the risk still posed by Covid-19.   

Presenter Sarah Smith asked the expert: “Do you think the messaging from the Government is appropriate at the moment?

“Because they’re trying to encourage people back to work and back out to businesses whilst at the same time we’ve just had new quarantine rules introduced for people returning from Spain, possibly more coming in at the weekend.

“Do the public have a clear sense of what the risk is and what they ought to be doing right now?”

West said he didn’t think they do – adding “to be honest I don’t think I do”.

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He went on: “I’m personally not 100% clear about what the Government is asking us to do. It does change and I can understand that that changes. But when they do make the changes they need to be absolutely clear to people why those changes are taking place.

“We also need to have a strategy. One of the things I think that we could learn from Scotland is that they do have a zero-Covid strategy which appears to be working at the moment. And I think we could do something similar – so we know we’re all heading in a particular direction. At the moment it feels a lot like we’re just drifting.”

Opinion polls carried out in recent months show the public in both England and Scotland find First Minister Nicola Sturgeon more trustworthy than Boris Johnson when it comes to Covid-19.

This week there were reports that Johnson is “extremely concerned” about a second wave of coronavirus beginning within weeks – but that claim came days after he gave a speech saying the UK may have a “significant” return to normality by Christmas.

The National:

The UK Government’s decision making on issues like air bridges and face mask rules has been described as “shambolic” by Sturgeon.

West’s comments come after he spoke to Newsnight about claims the Tory Government delayed lockdown for fears of “behavioural fatigue”.

The professor said the claim people would become weary of lockdown rules “doesn’t exist” in behavioural science.

There have been suggestions that locking down about a week before March 23 would have saved about 20,000 lives.

West told the programme: “This term behavioural fatigue seemed to have somehow emerged at a fairly early stage in the process. It certainly didn’t come from SPI-B, and it’s not a behavioural science term — if you look in the literature you won’t find it because it doesn’t exist.

“There’s speculation about where it came from, but it was a potentially problematic term because it grossly oversimplifies what is quite a nuanced situation.”