The Deputy Prime Minister has been accused of spreading “fake news” and endangering public health by Annie Wells, the Conservatives’ shadow cabinet secretary for health. The latest political fury in Scotland was sparked after Mr Swinney posted a tweet about face masks on Monday. The tweet contained a face mask graphic as well as unsubstantiated claims about their effectiveness in preventing the spread of the virus.

One such claim was 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 remove the post from his social media accounts, prompting the Scottish Tories to act.

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

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

“Continued use of an unverified chart like this is potentially dangerous,” she said.

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

“It may even convince some people that there is no risk of Covid in certain situations, which is not supported by science.”

The shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health accused the SNP government of “bad judgment” and said she had no choice but to report “this graph to the UK Statistics Authority for its contribution, since ministers of the SNP will not act ”.

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

“I have now deleted the image because the numbers in it have not been verified. Sorry for that.

“But the message remains unchanged: masks and distancing remain essential in beating this virus.”

The Scottish government has not given any details on the source of the graph.

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This notice was published: 2021-07-22 04:10:45


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