Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making - assessing the four harms

Sets out the four harms process for assessment used to establish when coronavirus restrictions could be safely lifted after lockdown and the scientific evidence underpinning the decisions.

The overall value of the four harms

The four harms approach enables us to take into consideration the many ways in which COVID-19 is impacting on the people, economy and services of Scotland, providing a basis for an overall assessment to be made of the harms individually and collectively. It helps to maintain a comprehensive view of the harms caused by the implementation of individual and groups of restrictions.

It provides a powerful tool for the development of policy response as options can be assessed together to judge their cumulative impact on the population as a whole and on different groups in the population. It enables us to deliver our aim of suppressing the virus to very low levels while minimising the broader harm it causes and it recognises that suppression of the virus is an essential component of any strategy to rebuild the economy and address societal impacts.

Assessing the four harms is an ongoing process with evidence and data regularly updated as new science and data become available and both our experience and that of other countries evolves. This ensures that the up-to-date harms assessments can continue to support our decision making.



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