Publication - Minutes

Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group minutes: 2 July 2020

Published: 9 Jul 2020
Date of meeting: 2 Jul 2020

A note of the twenty-third meeting of the COVID-19 Advisory Group held on 2 July 2020.

9 Jul 2020
Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group minutes: 2 July 2020

Items and actions

1. The group discussed issues relating to risk. Age is a most significant factor, with the greatest risk being for the elderly. Age is also linked to severity of infection. There is a need to consider biological as well as epidemiological factors. Work is underway to better understand gender differences. Ethnicity and deprivation are also important issues. It was noted that there was some conflation in public discussion of the risk of getting infected vs the risk of spreading infection.

2. As more is understood about risk factors, it should inform policy. Tools being developed will assist with that. It is important that any tools developed at UK level are validated for use in Scotland as rapidly as possible and integrated with existing systems. Local background risk is an important consideration. Important also to acknowledge different types of harm. Young are at low risk now but will be most impacted by long term non-covid impacts.

3. Individual management of risks is important and people need reliable information to make good decisions and adopt behaviours that will decrease the risk of a second wave. Pragmatic studies show that most harm arises from lack of information. That underlines the need to communicate openly and clearly. There is a need for risk to be understood – what the risk is and to who? Measures may not make sense at individual level but do at a community level. People need to be aware that there is a risk that the gains of Lockdown could be lost.

4. The group heard that the Education & Children sub-group had discussed their draft advice and briefed a meeting of the Education Recovery Group. A clear theme was the importance of public understanding of the science. The group also heard from the Chair of the Public Health Threat Assessment sub group and the Chief Scientific Advisor, as well as hearing feedback from SAGE. The group heard a report on the outbreak in Dumfries & Galloway and noted the importance of appropriate data being provided quickly to target local virus spikes.

5. The chair noted that the Group’s advice on distancing and superspreading had been published earlier that day on the Scottish Government website.