Scotland Restrictions: Nicola Sturgeon to share plans for lifting restrictions

Scotland Restrictions
Scotland Restrictions

The whole of Scotland Restrictions is presently at level zero of the virus alert system, and the first minister has mentioned that she is hopeful of going ahead on 9 August.

The announcement could include physical distancing rules relaxed, the return of office working and larger crowds at events.

However, Ms Sturgeon has stated that some measures like the use of face coverings will remain in place “for some time”.

She mentioned that people should not take advancement for granted due to the faster-spreading Delta variant of the virus, saying “appropriate caution” must be taken.

An update to the way Covid measures function in schools is likely to be added in the statement, with ministers viewing changes to self-isolation requirements for pupils and whether face coverings need to be worn in classrooms.

Ms Sturgeon’s cabinet will deliberate the latest data on Tuesday morning, with the Scottish Parliament being evoked from its summer recess to hear the outcome of their deliberations in the afternoon.

Ms Sturgeon has mentioned, Scotland is in a “much better place” than it was at the start of July, when Covid case numbers in some areas were among the maximum in Europe.

As of 30 July, the seven-day rolling average of new infections was at 1,153 – matched with 3,429 on the first day of that month.

The percentage of tests coming back positive has also dropped, including admissions to hospitals and intensive care wards.

Nevertheless, all of these figures are still considerably higher than in March, April, and May. The Delta variant drives the “third wave” of the virus above any earlier peak.

At her latest Covid briefing, Ms Sturgeon mentioned her Holyrood statement would concern “whether and to what extent” the plan to scrap most limitations can be enacted on 9 August.

She mentioned that some factors – such as the fall in case numbers and success of the vaccine programme in dipping deaths and serious illnesses – gave “really strong cause for optimism“.

However, the first minister cautioned that “a sensible degree of continued caution” was required in the period ahead to avoid “sending that progress into reverse” and imperiling the most vulnerable in society.

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