Stuart McMillan MSP asked an FMQ today about reports that the highest proportion of positive COVID-19 tests is among young adults.
The Greenock and Inverclyde MSP went on to ask whether the Scottish Government would consider tougher fines for hosts of house parties.
The First Minister said:
“More recently, the 18-39 year age group has shown the highest number of positive cases.
“That’s not surprising…young people are more likely to be exposed to the virus because they’re more likely to be back at work, and have been required to be in higher risk situations – young people are more likely to live in shared accommodation.”
The First Minister reiterated that this increase is not the fault of young people or something they should be blamed for – but we should not be complacent about this.
The First Minister continued by saying young people “can become gravely ill and we know that many people who get COVID-19 and never go to a hospital suffer long-term health complications.”
The First Minister went on to say:
“If the virus spreads in the younger age groups, it will eventually spread to older age groups who we know are at greater risk of illness and death.”
In response to Stuart’s supplementary question about house parties, the First Minister made clear that where there are egregious breaches of the law, the police could take action beyond a Fixed Penalty Notice.
The First Minister said:
“Where people are just fragrantly breaching the rules that should be treated seriously. I understand that young people want to socialise and see friends…but house parties right now are a danger. They are danger to people’s health and frankly, they are a danger to life.
“We will continue to keep the level of fines and enforcement action under review.”
Commenting after FMQs, Stuart said:
“My office has received numerous emails and calls from constituents who are concerned about the increase in young people testing positive for COVID-19.
“Young people are more likely to be back working in hospitality and retail settings, which is likely to have had an impact on the figures, but as rules around social gatherings in public places tighten, I’m concerned that people of all ages, not just young people, will consider hosting house parties.
“Since 14 September, a new law has come into force limiting social gatherings in Scotland to a maximum of six people from two households. These rules apply both indoors and outdoors – including in homes, gardens, pubs and restaurants.
“Children under age 12 will not count towards the total, nor will anyone you have formed an extended household with.
“I understand that people of all ages want to spend time with their friends and family, but we need to follow the rules otherwise they will remain in place for longer than anyone would like.”