This is the seventh, two-monthly report on the Coronavirus Acts in which the Scottish Government sets out the status and operation of the necessary legislation to respond to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. It is also the first such report to be produced in the new parliamentary session and the first for which I have had overall responsibility. Continued regular reporting on coronavirus-related legislation will ensure that the Scottish Parliament has oversight of the legislation, allowing it to hold Scottish Ministers to account for their use of the powers available to them.
Continued importance of the Coronavirus Acts
Covid-19 is first and foremost a public health crisis, and the measures to combat it have been necessary to save lives. The restrictions that have been in place since March 2020 have been extensive but necessary in order to limit transmission of the virus as far as possible. The public health measures required to control and limit the spread of the virus will continue to require a significant adjustment to the lives of those living in Scotland, to business in Scotland, and to the way public services are delivered and regulated.
A positive development has been the rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme and growing evidence concerning the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing serious illness and mortality against existing incumbent variants. However, until more is known about the impact on transmission and on health outcomes of existing vaccines, including against Variants of Concern, public health measures continue to be required.
The Scottish Government continues to place great importance on responding to the coronavirus epidemic, and protecting the health of people living in Scotland.
Ministers’ Review of the Seventh Report - Statement by Ministers on necessity and status of provisions
This seventh coronavirus report covers the period from 1 April to 31 May 2021. Scottish Ministers have undertaken a review of the operation of the provisions of Part 1 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (“the first Scottish Act”) and the Coronavirus (Scotland)(No.2) Act 2020 (“the second Scottish Act”), and the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (“the UK Act”) for which the Scottish Parliament gave legislative consent, in order to consider whether the provisions remain necessary. Ministers are satisfied that the status of those provisions at the end of this reporting period is appropriate.
Scottish Ministers have also undertaken a review of the Scottish Statutory Instruments (SSIs) to which section 14 of the second Scottish Act applies. Ministers are satisfied that the status of those SSIs at the end of the reporting period is appropriate.
I welcome the opportunity to further update the Scottish Parliament on the operation of the Coronavirus Acts and stand ready to engage with the Parliament in its scrutiny of this seventh report.
John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery