Coronavirus (Covid-19) conversation proves very popular

May 8, 2020 by 1 Comment | Category digital platforms, Our work

As part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to an open public discussion about potential changes to restrictions, a Dialogue challenge was launched on Tuesday 5 May coinciding with the publication of COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making – Further Information, which set out a range of options for lifting restrictions whilst emphasising this would only be done when the evidence was clear it was safe to do so.

How we’re engaging with the public

Dialogue is an online platform where the public can share and debate their opinions on steps we can take to move to a new normal.  The challenge has attracted a lot of media attention and has been extremely popular and generated a wealth of ideas and discussions which we are very grateful for and interested to see.

Ideas are the main tool on the platform to submit suggestions/proposals. Users can then rate or comment on the ideas to agree, disagree or refine them.

By 2:45pm on Thursday 7th May:

  • 7,729 people have registered on the platform
  • 1,823 people have contributed ideas
  • 9,231 comments have been left

High level rapid analysis is taking place on a continuous basis with updates being provided regularly to inform policy and Ministers. More detailed analysis will be undertaken once the platform has closed. In the meantime, below we set out a high level summary to provide a sense of some of the most popular discussion threads to date – but do note that this is by no means a complete and thorough analysis of all the contributions.

Thanks to those of you who have taken part and also to the many that have visited the challenge.

Emerging themes

The current top themes for discussion (as indicated by the number of comments) are as follows:

Other popular themes (as indicated by average rating and number of ratings) are:

  • Allow visits of partners, close family
  • Consider reopening household waste/recycling centres
  • Allow most solitary sports to go ahead, with golf being a particularly popular suggestion but also covering hillwalking and angling amongst others
  • Open Garden Centres

The ratings and commentary on these themes suggests a good degree of consensus and general positive attitude to these ideas.

Other ideas that have similarly had a high number of ratings but where there is more of a mixed response and debate include:

  • Continue lockdown
  • Allowing pupils to return to school
  • Gyms reopening
  • Enforce the wearing of masks
  • Close the Scotland/ England border

Schools understandably generated a good deal of debate and suggestions and we look forward to delving more deeply into the contributions as we progress.

What’s important to you?

When asked what one change would have the most positive impact on people’s life, the comments tended to centre around a desire to allow greater social contact, with widespread concern raised about the impact on mental health. However, although the ‘bubble ‘ concept’ was accepted in principle there was a view it would be hard to implement in practice. There was a generally positive view on the prospect of relaxing restrictions on going outdoors more often with a perception that the risk was lower and it again would help improve quality of life:

“Family contact is a must. Most people could happily endure the restrictions longer with this small change. I have a family member with severe and enduring mental health issues hurtling towards the point of no return. I have not broken the lockdown yet, but every day I consider it.”

“Social bubbles are superficially  attractive but do not reflect the realities or complexities of real lives. Becoming part of a bubble requires choices which may  simply add social pressure rather than relieving it.  The portrayal has often been about it being a way to allow grandparents to see grandchildren.  But the reality is that any decision to include is by default a decision to exclude. I’m not sure that given the pressures and stresses of the Covid world we can afford to add (even accidentally) another level of stress and potentially  division.  When the moment is right perhaps close family should be permitted contact by default while other social groups should be allowed to meet up out of doors in small numbers – say four, with social distancing required.”

The challenge closes on Monday, 11 May at 10pm.

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  • Liz Prosser says:

    In tandem with TTI&S as soon as possible could our GPs and practice nurses get going on anti body testing to eliminate vaccinating those who already have protection. If as a country we were able to introduce this speedily we might for once with this virus be ahead of the game. Anecdotally a friend who is a recently retired GP and volunteering back into the NHS has commented that in many places GPs and practice nurses are not at capacity so this would be feasible. I do not of course know how close we are to an accurate/ reliable anti body test.