Covid-19 Inquiry: Nicola Sturgeon admits Scotland's pandemic plan was 'inadequate'

'Do I accept the plan was inadequate? In summary, yes,' says Nicola Sturgeon, on Scotland's plan for a pandemic

Nicola Sturgeon told the UK Covid-19 Inquiry her government's pandemic plan was inadequate and they "did not get everything right" when it came to preparedness.

Giving evidence on Thursday, Scotland's former First Minister said "the government I led did our best", but admitted the non-influenza pandemic plan was not up to scratch.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Do I accept the plan was inadequate? In summary, yes."

However, she pushed back against accusations it was wholly useless, saying the plan "was for a different type of pandemic", but "that does not mean no part of that plan was useful in any way".

Her evidence echoed that given by Scotland's former Health Secretary Jane Freeman who said on Wednesday there were areas the nation "could have been better prepared", but ultimately "no plan" could have helped the country cope with Covid.

Later in her evidence Ms Sturgeon said her government had "no choice" but to divert resources away from emergency planning to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, despite the threat of a pandemic being identified as "the greatest risk facing the nation".

It wasn't the first time the Inquiry heard how planning for a no-deal Brexit meant pandemic preparation had to be de-prioritised.

Asked whether this was a "false economy", Ms Sturgeon retorted that "every aspect of Brexit has been a false economy."

She was then reminded that she was in a "witness box, not a soap box".

'It was our determination from the outset', says Nicola Sturgeon, 'to suppress' coronavirus 'to the maximum'

In what was a snub to the UK government, Ms Sturgeon said there was never a time her government accepted a "worst case scenario" during the pandemic and they were always determined to suppress its spread.

Answering questions from Hugo Keith KC, the Inquiry's chief lawyer, Ms Sturgeon said: "The questions I think that are really important for us all to consider, very very frankly, is could or should we have done more to suppress to the maximum, Covid.

"But speaking on behalf of the government I led at the time, it was never the case that we simply accepted there is a level of harm that is going to be done by this virus and we accept that.

"We were always, in fact, it became later on one of the points of difference between the Scottish and the UK government, the extent to which we were seeking to suppress as opposed to live with the virus."

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly said the pandemic was one of the hardest things she has ever had to deal with in her political career.

In her resignation speech as Scotland's first minister, she said: "It may well be the toughest thing I ever do. I certainly hope so."

Her evidence will be followed by that of former deputy first minister, John Swinney.

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