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Lockdown could have increased Covid death toll, Scottish study finds

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While it has been widely accepted that the closure of UK schools in March was bad for the life chances of its children, a research paper from the University of Edinburgh has gone as far as to say that the move could have contributed to a higher Covid-19 death toll.



a person sitting in front of a sign: Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex/Shutterstock


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex/Shutterstock

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggested lockdown restrictions were the most effective way of reducing peak demand for intensive care unit beds, but argued they were also likely to prolong the epidemic because, once lifted, they left a large population susceptible to the virus.

Some commentators have seized on the study as evidence that the government was too quick to impose a full lockdown, including shutting schools, and should have allowed herd immunity to build up in the younger population instead.

“Major study reveals Covid rules may INCREASE deaths,” said Thursday’s Daily Mail front page. “Herd immunity ‘could have saved more lives than social distancing’,” read the Telegraph’s.

The study’s conclusions are consistent with the strategy proposed in the Great Barrington declaration – a letter signed by an international group of scientists earlier this week – arguing for “focused protection” of the most vulnerable and allowing the rest of society to return to relative normality.



text: A billboard in Watford, Hertfordshire, in April. The Edinburgh university study argued that lockdown solved an immediate crisis but did not provide a long-term solution.


© Photograph: Jonathan Hordle/Rex/Shutterstock
A billboard in Watford, Hertfordshire, in April. The Edinburgh university study argued that lockdown solved an immediate crisis but did not provide a long-term solution.

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However, assumptions made by the study mean its conclusions would only hold water if all social distancing restrictions were lifted, resulting in a large second wave and others after that, and if an

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Paul Lawrie to call time on European Tour career after Scottish Open

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Former Open champion Paul Lawrie will call time on his European Tour career after completing his 620th appearance in this week’s ASI Scottish Open.

Lawrie, who lifted the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1999 and won seven other titles as well as being part of Europe’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in the 2012 Ryder Cup, has been hampered by a back injury in recent years and will focus his attention on the senior circuit from now on.

The 51-year-old is exempt for the Open Championship until the age of 60 but has yet to decide whether he will continue to compete in the game’s oldest major.

Scotland’s Paul Lawrie kisses the trophy after winning the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie (Ben Curtis/PA)

“There are a lot of factors behind the decision, the main one being that I don’t feel I can be competitive week in, week out at this level,” Lawrie said after an opening two-over-par 73 at the Renaissance Club.

“My back is not very good, I’ve got a herniated disc and I struggle to practice enough. I’m not able to hit the amount of balls I need. I’m not particularly talented so I lose my game quite quickly.

“I need to hit hundreds of balls but if I hit 50 or 60 now I have to go and sit down and come back in the afternoon.

“I’m also very busy off the course and I enjoy that more than the golf these days.

“To have played 620 events is not a bad innings considering I turned pro (in 1986) with a five handicap and didn’t think I’d play any. I haven’t been a great player, but I’ve been decent and that’s all you can ask for.

“I’m kind of almost pleased that I’m 51 and not 22 the

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Scottish police break up 300 house parties

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Scottish police have handed out fines after responding to 300 house parties over the weekend. (PA)
Scottish police have handed out fines after responding to 300 house parties over the weekend. (PA)
  • Police in Scotland responded to more than 300 house parties at the weekend

  • Chief constable insists most people are following the new COVID-19 rules

  • Nicola Sturgeon says students are not to blame and may be able to see family at Christmas

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Scottish police responded to more than 300 house parties over the weekend as the country’s chief constable insisted his force will take “decisive action to enforce the law”.

Police Scotland said house parties were being held “in every community and age group”, as first minister Nicola Sturgeon insisted students were not to blame for a rise in coronavirus cases.

Officers handed out 101 fines and made 14 arrests, and three of the incidents required officers to force entry.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “There is no doubt that house parties or house gatherings are not permitted and there can be no excuse for arranging, attending, or hosting a house party.

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“It is against the law.

“Where officers encounter blatant, wilful, or persistent breaches, we will take decisive action to enforce the law.”

Scotland, like other parts of the UK, has tightened up on its coronavirus rules, with a ban on most socialising in private homes and a 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants.

Police Scotland said the “vast majority” of people had followed the rules.

“I am grateful for the support and co-operation of the public and the licensed trade which continued over the weekend,” Livingstone said.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said police will enforce coronavirus restrictions. (Ken Jack/Getty Images)
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said police will enforce coronavirus restrictions. (Ken Jack/Getty Images)

“I also want to again underline my admiration and compassion for young people and students who