Flag-waving activists ridiculed for Scottish border coronavirus ‘patrol’

Nicola Sturgeon says it is her ‘duty’ to consider implementation of quarantine for visitors entering Scotland from other parts of UK

Samuel Lovett
Saturday 04 July 2020 21:02 BST
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Nicola Sturgeon slams UK government's 'shambolic' coronavirus handling

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Activists have been ridiculed and criticised for appearing to patrol the Scottish border, amid concerns people from England are bringing coronavirus into the country.

In a video shared and condemned by Jamie Halcro Johnston, the MSP for Highlands & Islands, a group of people dressed in protective equipment can be seen waving Scottish flags while playing music.

One man tells the camera “stay the f*** away”, while a woman says “Covid free”.

Mr Halcro Johnston described the video as “appalling”.

“This is the result of dog-whistle rhetoric about closing borders,” he said on Twitter. “I hope you’re dealing with this, @policescotland. And you need to condemn this, @NicolaSturgeon, and send a clear message that this kind of behaviour is utterly unacceptable.”

One Twitter user replied: “I don’t have the words to express how heartbroken I am that such a disgraceful event is taking place in the country I was proud of a decade ago. I sincerely hope that this behaviour will be condemned at the highest Government level.”

Another added: “You do realise they are in a lay-by on the A1 and the traffic is flowing freely just a staged video op.”

Scotland is continuing to show progress in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed 2,488 lives across the country.

On Saturday, it was announced there had been no new deaths recorded for Scotland over the last 24 hours – a development which first minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed, adding that it was “time to take extra care, not drop our guard.”

Fears have been raised that Scotland’s hard work in suppressing the virus could be undone by people from England bringing Covid-19 into the country.

Earlier this week, a cross-border “cluster” of coronavirus cases was identified across south west Scotland and north west England.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway confirmed there had been nine new cases of Covid-19 in the Gretna and Annan areas since Monday.

It said it was monitoring the situation “very closely” and would provide updates as the situation developed.

Ms Sturgeon has meanwhile said it is her “duty” to consider the implementation of a quarantine for visitors entering Scotland from other parts of the UK.

The first minister said on Wednesday that “all options” must remain open should the two country’s infection rates “diverge”.

She said if advisors told her that a quarantine rule would be “a necessary measure to protect people” then she would be “failing in my duty not to consider it”.

Prime minister Boris Johnson described the potential measures as “astonishing and shameful”.

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