John Swinney and justice minister catch Covid ahead of restriction update

It comes just hours before Nicola Sturgeon is due to update the country on the legal requirement to wear facemasks.

Deputy first minister John Swinney and justice secretary Keith Brown catch Covid ahead of restriction update Getty Images

Scotland’s deputy first minister and his cabinet colleague justice secretary Keith Brown have both tested positive for Covid ahead of the Government’s update on legal restrictions.

John Swinney, who is also the Covid recovery secretary, announced he had tested positive in a tweet on Wednesday morning.

It comes just hours before Nicola Sturgeon is due to update the country on whether she will extend the legal requirement for people to wear facemasks.

The First Minister eased most legal restrictions two weeks ago, but kept mask rules in place due to high case numbers.

The cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss the rules but it was confirmed the meeting had taken place virtually.

The justice secretary Brown posted in response to Swinney that he too had tested positive for the virus after previously avoiding it.

It comes in the wake of a record number of Scots catching the virus, with the Office for National Statistics reporting one in 11 people north of the border had Covid in the week ending March 20.

Swinney said: “After two years of avoiding #Covid_19 I tested positive this morning.”

He added he will be “self-isolating in accordance with the rules” and will try to engage with Scottish Parliament business remotely “if I feel better than I do just now”.

Brown urged him to “be safe” and said “hopefully you’ll be better soon”.

He said: “Like you I’ve avoided it for two years until I had a positive test this morning. Thank goodness for Zoom.”