The Scottish Government has been told it needs an "elimination" strategy to tackle Covid-19 in 2021.

A panel of Scots drafted a report with a number of recommendations on how this should be done - with their favoured option being an approach that would "eliminate" the virus and leave restrictions in place until case numbers are at zero.

The broadly representative group of 19 people were convened by Holyrood’s Covid-19 Committee and had four sessions in response to the pace of regulations being brought in by the Scottish Government.

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Government hopes to outline Scotland's new route map for exiting lockdown next week. 

READ MORE: Scottish Government to publish route map out of lockdown outlining 'strategic framework'

Chief among the report's recommendations is transparency on the Scottish Government’s plans for tackling the virus this year.

Covid-19 Committee convener Donald Cameron said: “The committee is very grateful to the members of the public and experts who gave their time to participate in deliberations.

“The steps taken to counter this virus are so drastic they would have been unimaginable a year ago. It is therefore vital we gauge the public mood as we enter into the next phase of managing the pandemic.


“The considered priorities of this broadly representative group, who have looked at the issue with fresh eyes, will help inform us as we begin to look at the likely extension of the emergency powers, and work to ensure the efforts of Government are focused in the right place.

“We are looking forward to hearing more from panel members, and testing their conclusions, at our next meeting.”

The panel pushes for an elimination strategy to be put in place to fight the virus, which would see restrictions in place to slowly work the number of cases to zero.

But they accept there would need to be an agreement across the UK, and it would also require Scots to make a number of “sacrifices” – particularly around travel restrictions.

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The UK and Scottish governments are currently locked in discussions on travel rules, with Holyrood choosing to make every traveller arriving from abroad quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, while only those from “red list” countries are forced to do so in England.

In areas of the response where an elimination strategy cannot be used, one of “maximum suppression” is suggested, which would include a robust Test and Protect scheme to track cases across the country as numbers begin to fall.

Other harms caused by the virus, the panel said, such as economic, social and other health problems, would all be helped by the suppression of the virus.

In all cases, the panel said the Scottish Government should be clear about what it considers to be an “acceptable level of infection” within the population.