• Tue. Mar 2nd, 2021

Lockdown Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon sets out roadmap for easing rules

ByDNP

Feb 23, 2021

The easing will be dependent on case data

Nicola Sturgeon has set out her roadmap out of lockdown in Scotland, with major easing expected from April if the data allows.

She said that the country would return to the localised system of levels, similar to England’s previous tiers system.

In summer ‘we really hope to be living with much greater freedom’, she said, but urged people to continue to follow the rules for now.

She said: ‘It is therefore from the last week of April that we would expect to see phased but significant reopening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers.

‘And, of course, the more of us who are vaccinated and the more we all stick by the rules now, the faster that safe pace is likely to be – if we all stay in this together, our progress will be greater.’

At the moment, the whole of Scotland is currently in Level 4, with people told to remain at home.

Moving back to Level 3 would allow sectors such as non-essential retail to reopen.

Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that she hoped the ‘stay at home’ order would be able to be lifted from April 5.

She said: ‘Our watchwords continue to be caution and patience, but we now have much firmer grounds for optimism.’

The vaccinations offer us a route ‘back to normality’, she said, but added that taking the breaks off too quickly ‘will allow the virus to get ahead of us again’

She acknowledged that this ‘can be a frustrating message, but it is an essential one’.

Last week, the country recorded  ‘hardly any reduction at all’ in coronavirus case numbers, largely because of the spread of a more transmissible new variant. 

That means that the country’s R number is currently below 1, but it might not be very far below. 

‘The bottom line is we havre quite limited scope at this point for easing restrictions,’ Ms Sturgeon said.

Yesterday, children in Scotland returned to early learning, and pupils in Primary 1 – 3 returned to school. Some secondary school pupils returning for essential practical work.

Ms Sturgeon said it is important to see what effect this has on transmission before further easing, which will be dependent on data allowing.

She said her goal was a return to normality, with people being able to hug loved ones, but the country would have to proceed with caution.

‘Travel restrictions are also essential and are likely to remain essential for some time yet,’ she said. ‘We saw over the summer how new cases were imported into Scotland, after we had almost eliminated the virus. We do not want that to happen again.’

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