Infectious diseases expert Professor Mark Woolhouse claims there is no “good case” for a full lockdown, adding that “serious harm” was inflicted on children throughout the pandemic.
He also called the stay-at-home restrictions in March 2020 and last January as a “lazy solution to a novel coronavirus epidemic”.
His comments come amid rising tensions surrounding current curbs in Scotland.
Before Christmas, the First Minister urged people to “stay at home as much as possible.”
New limits on large public gatherings forced the cancellation of New Year’s Eve street parties, for the second year, including the one planned for Edinburgh which attracts tens of thousands of people.
Hogmanay street parties across Scotland were cancelled, with crowds at outdoor public events capped at 500 since Boxing Day, for at least three weeks, and numbers at indoor public events limited to 100 standing or 200 seated.
Ms Sturgeon’s next Covid update is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11 – that date marking the formal three-week review of restrictions, with the First Minister set to announce any extension of the curbs.
However, speaking last week, Scotland’s national clinical director Jason Leitch hinted those restrictions could change before the official review.
He said: “We’ll give the best advice we can but there is an official review, a legal review, every three weeks with those restrictions but that doesn’t mean things can’t go up or down in the middle weeks.”
As the Scottish Sun reports, Professor Woolhouse said: “There is still no good case for a full lockdown.
“Lockdowns aren’t a public health policy. They signify a failure of public health policy.”
The Edinburgh University epidemiologist and key Scottish Government advisor added: “If we end up there again, it will be because we didn’t get the public health messaging right, because we failed to protect the vulnerable and didn’t order enough test kits.
“That’s something which should have been attended to when it was obvious that Omicron would cause a huge surge in cases.”
The comments came in his new book, The Year the World Went Mad: A Scientific Memoir.
In it, the professor identified measures similar to that in Sweden which have been brought in to keep contacts safe.
There, the strategy has focused on people taking responsibility under advice, not strict measures.
Speaking about the previous lockdowns, he added: “Much more should have been spent on protection for care homes.
“We did serious harm to our children and young adults, who were robbed of their education, jobs and normal existence as well as suffering damage to their future prospects.
“All this to protect the NHS from a disease that is a far, far greater threat to the elderly, frail and infirm than the young and healthy.”
Responding to his comments, a Scottish Government spokesperson told the paper: “Actions have been guided at all times by the best and most up-to-date expert scientific advice.
“We have established an independent public inquiry to explore all aspects of handling of the pandemic and to identify any lessons which need to be addressed.”