TORY MSPS and right-wing figures attacked public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar after she expressed concerns over comparing Covid-19 to flu.

UK Government Health Secretary Sajid Javid had provoked anger by writing that “we are going to have to learn to live with Covid and find ways to cope with it – just as we already do with flu”.

Professor Sridhar, chair of global public health at Edinburgh University, disagreed. She responded: “New UK health minister saying Covid is like flu. Same position 18 months into the pandemic. We didn’t have to vaccinate the entire adult population against flu, or do mass community testing, or have lockdowns bc hospitals full. I don’t understand the analogy.”

READ MORE: What to expect from Boris Johnson's English lockdown easing announcement

Sridhar, who advises the Scottish Government on its response to the pandemic, was heavily criticised by Conservative councillors and MSPs who accused her of “politicising” the crisis.

Kyle Thornton, a Tory councillor for Newlands/Auldburn, asked her: “Does Nicola order you to put out these SNP press releases or do you do them off your own back? When will you take action on public health professionals politicising pandemics [Edinburgh University]?”

“He didn’t say that though, did he?” said Dean Lockhart, Conservative MSP for the Mid Scotland and Fife region. “Oh by the way, how is the Covid elimination strategy going?”

READ MORE: Tories under fire for wanting UK to ‘move as one’ out of lockdown on July 19

Stephen Kerr, Tory MSP for Central Scotland, hit back at Sridhar to say the Scottish Government’s strategy is failing, with Test and Protect “imploding”. “If not for vaxx we’d be in serious trouble. It’s easier to attack the UKgov, mind.”

Jamie Halcro Johnston, MSP for the Highlands and Islands region, claimed Sridhar was “irresponsible” to suggest Javid was arguing Covid is “like flu”.

Meanwhile GB News political correspondent Tom Harwood asked Sridhar if she hadn’t read Javid’s tweet or was “deliberately lying” about his argument. “Either way you should do the honourable thing delete this fake news.”

Sridhar’s concerns came as the UK Government prepares plans to remove all legal coronavirus restrictions in England later this month.

Javid will set out the next steps in Westminster this afternoon, with the advice that people will need to “learn to live with” the virus.

It is understood that mask-wearing will become voluntary in most places south of the Border, one-metre social distancing will be abandoned and house parties will be given the go-ahead.

Yesterday the UK recorded 24,248 coronavirus cases overall, up 66% in just a week. Scientists have expressed concerns over whether now, when cases are at their highest levels since January, is the time to push ahead with easing up.

Sridhar has faced attacks from opposition politicians throughout the pandemic. Last summer she slammed “sad” attacks from Unionists.

READ MORE: Virus expert Devi Sridhar blocks 'troll' Murdo Fraser on Twitter

"[I] have always expressed my opinions openly ...” she wrote. “I’m an independent academic & have no funding from Scottish govt. Originally from Miami & finding these cheap attacks bizarre & sad."

She added: "To Americans wondering what’s going on, here’s my naive take: Scotland is now doing well in its response to Covid-19 which seems to anger anti-Scottish, pro-UK people (‘Unionists’) who are now turning their attacks on me bc I serve on scientific advisory group to Scottish govt."

She was not the only scientific expert questioning the UK Government yesterday. Professor Stephen Reicher, who also advises the Scottish Government on Covid, said: “It is frightening to have a ‘health’ secretary who still thinks Covid is flu. Who is unconcerned at levels of infection. Who doesn’t realize that those who do best for health, also do best for the economy. Who wants to ditch all protections while only half of us are vaccinated.”