Nicola Sturgeon has been told a lack of an impact assessment for plans to ease coronavirus restrictions over Christmas “seems deeply irresponsible”.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie challenged Ms Sturgeon at FMQs about whether the Scottish Government is prepared for a third wave of the disease caused by increased gatherings over the festive period.
Mr Harvie said the First Minister is sending a “confusing message” by lifting restrictions on household mixing but simultaneously appealing for Scots to try to avoid gathering over Christmas if possible.
While acknowledging the “difficult decisions” that had to be made, he said: “This morning at Parliament’s Covid-19 committee, the national clinical director confirmed that no risk assessment has been made of the impact this relaxation will have.
“This seems deeply irresponsible.
“So can the First Minister confirm that this is the case? If so, how will the Government ensure that our NHS is prepared for the third wave that the new rules risk creating?”
Ms Sturgeon replied to say she had “agonised over” the decision but argued the Scottish Government is right to ease the restrictions on gatherings “instead of just allowing that to happen naturally in a haphazard way”.
She added: “We’ve not modelled at this particular arrangement, we are looking at if and how it is possible to do that.
“There are difficulties in trying to model an arrangement, particularly where you’re trying to persuade people only to use flexibilities when necessary.”
She accepted it is a “complex” message but said: “I’m being very open with people that this does carry risks, which is why, where people can get through Christmas without mixing with others, that is my advice to them.”