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Coronavirus Impacts Pt3: with Dr Philippa Whitford MP

Written by on 29th April 2020

On 27 April, we talked to Dr Philippa Whitford MP, SNP spokeswoman on Health at Westminster.

Dr Whitford covered a lot of ground in the hour she talked to us. Here are the main topics we discussed:

  • What difference or impact will there be having Boris Johnson back? What’s it been like for you participating in Westminster business during this shutdown? And for your constancy work?
  • Challenge for businesses in Scotland depending on type of business and length of the lockdown. Rebuilding our economy. Creating a genuine security net with universal basic income.
  • Repercussions for English NHS which has been fragmented by Westminster policies over the past decade… will this crisis will push the Tories will into a change of NHS policy direction? 
  • The various apps that are appearing now both as research tools and tracking tools. Human rights issues have still to be worked out for their data and how it is used. For contact tracing, they still require public health teams to follow up on the data. The rate of asymptomatic spread could possibly be reduced by the tracing app.
  • Controlling borders and long distance cross-country travel. Impact on tourism. New Zealand’s approach to the crisis compared to UK. SAGE modelling advice to UK Governments did not include the effect on the rate of Covid spread from contact tracing. At that point, that was the only advice available to Scottish, Welsh and NI Govs. 
  • New UKGov advice now being given to people entering the UK.
  • Four Nation Decision-making and Discussions. Are decisions taken that way? Or are they taken first in Westminster Cabinet and then taken to the COBRA meetings?
  • Timescale for a vaccine prob not till next year. In the meantime, we need to learn how to live with this virus.. 
  • Screening at borders, road, air, rail. It would help but part of the problem is that you can be infectious without any symptoms. Indications are that perhaps half of of covid19 spread has been from asymptomatic spreaders. Cloth coverings may give some protection to others if you are infectious asymptomatically.
  • Numbers of Scottish cases, and deaths in relations to UK as a whole.
  • Covid19 affects us in a variety of ways, attacking a variety of organs, and often with pneumonia following. We shouldn’t be complacent that any section of the population, including children, are relatively unaffected.
  • preparing for getting kids back to school and how to do it. 
  • the situation in Gaza regarding Covid19

(This is second time we have talked to Dr Whitford about coronavirus. The first was on 23March when the pandemic was at a much earlier stage. You can listen to and read about that interview here.)