This update to our COVID-19: Strategic Framework has set out our progress and plans for managing the epidemic as it hopefully enters a calmer phase.
Omicron has provided us – and countries across the world – with a salutary reminder that the virus will continue to evolve into new variants, some of which may be more harmful. And while we can look forward with a higher degree of optimism than at any point previously in the pandemic, as our economy and broader society continues to recover from the experience of the past two years, that optimism must be tempered by vigilance and preparedness for what lies ahead.
We must all continue to do everything required to remain resilient and to keep the virus in check. Our lives will not go back to exactly as they were before COVID-19 and, indeed, there are some aspects of life during the pandemic that we would want to hold on to – that could serve us well for the future.
This approach will be consistent with our strategic intent, which has been updated for the next phase of the epidemic: to manage the virus effectively, primarily through adaptation and health measures – such as vaccination, treatment and surveillance – as we recover and rebuild for a better future. As part of our approach we will ensure that the guidance on what we need to do remains clear.
This Strategic Framework has set out what we all must do as we come to rely much more on positive behaviours and actions to manage COVID-19 effectively and sustainably, and much less on legal requirements and restrictions on our way of life. However, should the virus yet again pose an acute threat to our health, we have set out how we plan to respond effectively and proportionately, to enable people and organisations to plan for the future with greater confidence.
We have set out not just the progress we have been making, collectively, across the many fronts of managing the epidemic in Scotland, but also the actions and activity that we plan to take going forward, following engagement with stakeholders. This reflects the focus that we continue to place on the effective management of COVID-19, and on paving the way for future recovery as set out in our COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, which continues to progress at pace. And we will play our part in ensuring that effective management of COVID-19 is shared across the world.
As we look forward, we will not forgot all those who have been tragically lost to this virus nor the many struggles and sacrifices that we have endured together, and that many people and organisations continue to endure. In particular we must continue to support those who remain at heightened risk from COVID-19.
And we will support the work of the COVID-19 public inquiry in Scotland alongside that of the UK public inquiry. We will listen to the developing lessons and research that can help us to navigate through future pandemics and other emergencies better.
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