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Nicola Sturgeon imposed a ban on household visits from Wednesday as she suggested the tougher approach may mean the rules do not have to be in place as long as restrictions in England. While Boris Johnson has urged people to work from home and closed pubs, bars, and restaurants from 10pm. Jeremy Hunt has hit out at the devolved administrations for their different messaging as he noted it confuses the public.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Mr Hunt said: “In a pandemic, the messaging is going to change because there is so much new evidence and new data coming forward.
“But I do think there have been problems with the messaging particularly when there have been different messages coming out from local government and national government and different messages from the devolved administrations.
“I do think one thing that would really improve the situation is if our leaders got together and tried more effectively to come up with a single message.”
He added: “They have the legal right to go their own way but I don’t think it’s helpful for people on the basis of the same evidence to be coming up with different decisions.
“I think it just confuses the public and then the public debate becomes why are we allowed to do something in England and not allowed to do in Scotland?
“I think this is a time when we should be coming together with unified messages.”
Asked about Ms Sturgeon’s new measures, the former Cabinet minister said: “She is legally entitled to do that.
“I would say, wherever possible it’s much better to stick together because the simplicity of messaging is one of the things that will make the biggest difference with people complying with the rules.”
Ms Sturgeon has accepted that the latest coronavirus restrictions may feel like a “step backwards”, but urged Scots to stick with them anyway, insisting they “will make a difference”.
The Scottish First Minister addressed the nation after she announced a ban on indoor household visits and a curfew for pubs and restaurants.
It came as part of a package of measures to try to stop coronavirus from “spiralling out of control” in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The last six months have been unprecedented.
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“They’ve been the hardest many of us have ever lived through.
“But through our collective efforts across Scotland, we did beat Covid back.
“As a result – although too much heartbreak has been endured and too many families are grieving – many lives were also saved.
“But as we enter winter, and with many lockdown restrictions now thankfully lifted, the challenge is once again getting harder.”
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