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Angus MacNeil MP has called for police to patrol the main routes into Scotland after it became clear that England will diverge from the Scottish lockdown policy. He said today:

If England opens up too soon they are heading for another downturn because England, like Scotland, has no idea about the asymptomatic in their midst. If people move and mix more the virus is going to spread. On the Irish border the guards are there to make sure people are not moving and it may be the case that we have to do the same at the Scottish border. Policing the borders would not be impossible to do. It is already being done for the islands.

He makes a most persuasive case based only on the coronavirus threat but there have been earlier events [links at foot] pushing Scotland toward the need for a harder border:

Drug gangs terrorising Scotland’s rural communities

From Community Experiences of Serious Organised Crime in Scotland (2018):

Evidence from drug market research and policing suggests that the most common route for illicit commodities into Scotland is through the open border with England, with major drug supply routes entering the country by road and rail.

The profitability of the heroin trade has however led to an increase in SOC groups from England penetrating markets in north and rural Scotland. These groups use road, train, and bus routes to create steady supply routes in these areas, effectively ‘bypassing’ the traditional groups in Scotland’s central belt and directly accessing other markets in rural areas. A police officer noted the regularity of the trade, with ‘young people or low-level patsies acting as couriers’

From Police Scotland in January 2019:

The charity Crime-stoppers is today 14th January 2019 launching a campaign to highlight the pain and suffering that criminals from English cities are inflicting on vulnerable people in Scotland’s rural and coastal towns. The campaign aims to raise awareness of County Lines, which is when criminals from major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham are expanding their drug networks to other areas, bringing with it serious criminal behaviour such as violence, exploitation and abuse.

Measles epidemics

Measles has been virtually wiped-out in the population of Scotland.

The MMR immunisation rate in England has fallen for the fourth year in a row to only 87% with in some areas only 67% vaccinated. There have been 230 cases of measles in just the first three months of 2019.

In Scotland the rate is 97% and has been so for 10 years. There have been 10 cases in Scotland, reported so far in 2019. All have been ‘imported’ from England or beyond.

Norovirus epidemics:

From Health Protection Scotland on 13th December, Norovirus cases in Scotland plummeting:

The provisional total of laboratory reports for norovirus in Scotland up to the end of week 49 of 2019 (week ending 8 December 2019) is 798. In comparison, to the end of week 49 in 2018 HPS received 1367 laboratory reports of norovirus. The five-year average for the same time period between years 2013 and 2017 is 1385.

From NHS England:

The NHS is calling on the public to heed advice and stay at home if they have norovirus to avoid passing it on, as hospitals in England have been forced to close more than 1,100 hospital beds over the last week.Top medics are concerned about the spread of the winter vomiting bug this year and the impact it is having on hospitals and other services.

They are therefore urging those who catch the virus not to go back to work or school until at least 48 hours after symptoms pass, to avoid passing it on to others. The latest data from Public Health England (PHE) surveillance showed that the number of positive norovirus laboratory reports during the two weeks in the middle of November (11th-24th) was 28% higher than the average for the last five years. And almost double the number of hospital beds have been closed every day over the last week than at the same time last year, in a bid to stop the spread of diarrhoea and vomiting to more patients.

Listeria outbreaks:

After 8 English hospitals experienced listeria outbreaks in food supplies in 2019, Scotland’s hospitals reported having had no incidents of hospital acquired infections connected to, after, linked to, from, or because of, food products, in the last five years. 

Sources:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2019/12/nhs-warning-as-winter-vomiting-bug-closes-1000-hospital-beds/

https://www.scotland.police.uk/whats-happening/news/2019/january/campaign-launched-appeal-for-help-tackling-county-lines-drug-networks

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/18/take-up-mmr-vaccine-falls-fourth-year-in-a-row-england-measles#targetText=Data%20from%20NHS%20Digital%20revealed,by%20the%20World%20Health%20Organization.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49394170#targetText=In%202018%2C%20there%20was%20a,linked%20to%20travel%20in%20Europe.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2019/12/nhs-warning-as-winter-vomiting-bug-closes-1000-hospital-beds/