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28 Apr, 2020 16:02

‘Just trying to do my job’: Scotland’s Sturgeon rejects claims she’s trying to embarrass UK govt with Covid-19 face coverings call

‘Just trying to do my job’: Scotland’s Sturgeon rejects claims she’s trying to embarrass UK govt with Covid-19 face coverings call

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hit back at claims she's trying to “embarrass Westminster” following her announcement that Scots will now be advised to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces amid the Covid-19 crisis.

During the daily coronavirus media briefing on Tuesday, Sturgeon revealed that her government’s new guidance recommends that the Scottish public wear non-medical face coverings in spaces where social distancing is difficult to achieve, such as in shops and on public transport.

It echoes calls from London Mayor Sadiq Khan and, somewhat controversially, marks a direct shift from the UK government's position on face coverings, as it has thus far insisted that the science is not clear on their efficacy in fighting the spread of deadly virus.

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The updated guidance drew a rather mischievous response from the Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who ostensibly suggested that in making such an announcement before London, Sturgeon was trying to “embarrass” British PM Boris Johnson’s administration.

That in turn prompted a reaction from the Scottish first minister and SNP leader on Twitter, labelling suggestions that she had “malign motives” as “tedious and misplaced.” 

I’m just trying to do my job – as every other government is.

Sturgeon insisted that “all governments across the UK” were looking at the issue of face coverings as the country considers relaxing some lockdown rules as part of social distancing measures, claiming that there was no “divide or split” on the matter.

She told reporters that “My responsibility is to make judgments based on the evidence I can get on what is right to protect the people of Scotland.”

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Sturgeon said that face coverings could include “something fairly basic – a scarf, bandana, cloth or textile,” but conceded that there were limits to the benefits of such garments. 

Figures published by Public Health Scotland on Tuesday showed that 10,721 people have tested positive for coronavirus in and out of hospital since the start of the outbreak, with a death toll of 1,332. 

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