SCOTLAND’S First Minister is one a small number of world leaders who has managed to “secure public trust” during the coronavirus crisis, scientists have said.

Writing in the Lancet, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National University of Singapore explored the response of countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They looked at approaches taken by Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea opposed to Germany, Norway, Spain and the UK.

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Setting out the importance of clear public health messaging, they write: "With few exceptions, such as Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, and South Korea, political leaders have struggled to secure public trust and thus support for continued lifestyle changes.

"More generally, countries with female leaders have done better at securing public confidence and adherence to new measures than have countries with male leaders.

"In England, controversy surrounding a trip made during lockdown by a close adviser to the Prime Minister has substantially undermined public confidence in the government and support for the measures that it was taking."

The report goes on to explore the reasons for such different responses to coronavirus around the world.

Health inequality in the UK was highlighted, while South Korea’s approach to contact-tracing was explained. There, there is “shoe-leather epidemiology” centred around tracers with detailed local knowledge and access to lots of personal data, while in England the system is outsourced to a private firm.

Tight border control has played an important role too, with countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore closing their borders to most visitors with those coming into the country subject to mandatory coronavirus testing and quarantine.

However researchers say European countries “have been slow to require routing testing of travellers”.

The latest report comes after a difficult week in Scotland’s coronavirus fight, with a ban on household visiting implemented nationwide as well as a curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants.

On Wednesday Scotland recorded its highest ever daily case count, while the percentage of positive cases found every day has reached as high as 7.9%.