BBC Newsnight 22.6.20

Professor Bauld did not explicitly say that we should have a border but the evidence she offered made it seem necessary when you consider not just coronavirus but other potential epidemics spreading north. More on these below.

On BBC Newsnight, last night, from Professor Bauld after being asked:

England accelerating on the exit from lock-down. Can you support this?


Well, I think the public health community is very anxious. Even though we see fewer than a thousand cases today, the estimates from ONS are around 3 000. We still have far higher level of cases than other European countries and I thin, from a perspective of Somebody here in Scotland, our First Minister’s talking about eliminating the virus. But we can’t close our border with England so if things move too quickly in England, which many are arguing they are, then it puts the rest of us at risk.

So I understand, absolutely, the need to get the economy up and going but I think’s it’s…you know…we are in a very risky situation and things could go the wrong way in the coming weeks.

Professor Bauld did not state the Scottish infection rate, 7 day average, of only 19 new cases. Perhaps she did not want to seem to be showing-off. If we multiply that by 12 to get a UK-comparative figure, all things being equal, the UK rate should be around 240 new cases but they’re predicting 3 000, 12 times higher!

Do we then welcome tourists from England? Border checks seem essential if we are to push for elimination.

And it’s not just coronavirus.


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.


From Health Protection Scotland on 13th December: 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.

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.


Eight NHS hospitals have been hit by the listeria outbreak which has killed five patients, the Health Secretary has revealed. Matt Hancock made the disclosures as he said he was keen to see the health service take NHS catering back in-house, in a bid to improve safety.

Evidence for a border from the past: Bubonic Plague:

‘The Great Plague of 1665-1667 did not reach Scotland. To a large extent, this was due to the preventive measures put into place by the Scottish government. The Privy Council passed a series of acts which forbid trade with countries affected by the plague, in particular England and the Netherlands. Even after the disease had dwindled there, further acts imposed a forty-day quarantine on goods imported from these places. Economically, such an interruption of trade was very disruptive, not least since England and the Netherlands were two of Scotland’s main trading partners.’