UK

SNP under fire: Swinney’s misleading Covid graphic reported to UK Statistics Authority

The Deputy First Minister was accused of spreading “fake news” and endangering public health by Annie Wells, the Tories Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health. The latest political furore in Scotland was triggered after Mr Swinney posted a tweet on Monday about face masks. The tweet contained a face mask graphic along with unsubstantiated claims about their effectiveness in preventing the spread of the virus.

One such assertion maintained that a person with Covid could not transmit the virus to another person just six feet away, if both were wearing masks.

Mr Swinney initially failed to delete the post from his social media accounts, prompting the move by the Scottish Tories.

In a statement, Ms Wells accused the SNP of failing to take appropriate measures to correct their mistake.

She said that Mr Swinney’s tweet was “essentially fake news” that could have reached hundreds of thousands of people.

“The continued use of an unverified graphic like this is potentially dangerous,” she claimed.

“It undermines the serious public health message that masks can limit the spread of the virus.

“It may even convince some people that there is zero risk from Covid in certain situations, which is not supported by science.”

The Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health accused the SNP Government of “poor judgement” and said she had been left with no choice but to report “this graphic to the UK Statistics Authority for their input, since SNP Ministers will not act.”

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He said: “I shared an image on Monday to illustrate that masks and distancing can help stop Covid transmission.

“I have now deleted the image as the figures in it were not verified. Sorry for that.

“But the message is unchanged: masks and distancing remain critical to beating this virus.”

The Scottish Government did not give any details of the source of the graphic.


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