FM: No sudden changes to isolation rules amid third wave

Nicola Sturgeon said the government is 'monitoring' rising cases as she considers how the country can return to 'normal'.

The First Minister has said there would be no sudden changes to self-isolating rules amid the rising third wave of coronavirus.

Nicola Sturgeon said the government is “monitoring” rising coronavirus cases as she considers how the country can return to “normal” without “putting people at risk”.

On Tuesday, UK health minister Sajid Javid said fully-vaccinated people and children will not have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive from August 16.

Sturgeon said that ministers had isolation rules under review in consultation with clinical advisors but that Covid-19 cases were “higher than we should be comfortable with”.

She told STV News: “We have to be careful that we don’t take precipitate action in easing any of the protections while we are still doing what we are doing to vaccinate the population as quickly as possible.”

The First Minister previously said that all adults in Scotland are on track to receive their first dose of vaccine by July 18 – the day before the whole country will enter level zero.

On the same day in England, all laws on mask-wearing and social distancing are expected to be scrapped entirely meaning there will be major differences between the two.

But as businesses have been forced to close and NHS boards facing crisis-level pressure due to staff isolating, no decision has been made on changing the rules for those found to be a close contact of a positive case in Scotland.

Two NHS boards have hospitals in “code black” status as they cancel non-urgent procedures amid staff shortages and increasing pressure on services.

A seaside town in Aberdeenshire was hit by 13 business closures due to outbreaks of coronavirus in what locals described as a “huge loss”.

The First Minister “pressure on the health service is building again” but that vaccines had reduced the number of people requiring hospital treatment.

Sturgeon said funding has been made available to health boards and that although pressure was building on the NHS it is much lower than earlier waves of the virus with vaccines doing much of the work that restrictions had done previously.

She said that because the aim was to keep NHS services open the capacity for dealing with the third wave was reduced and this had lead to pressure on the system.

But another health board is meeting on Thursday to consider cancelling elective care services amid staffing pressures and rising cases.

Sturgeon said: “We are monitoring the data every day right now to make sure we are taking a course through this that is sensible and responsible.

“I want us to get to these milestones but I want us to get there with the minimum number of people dying, the minimum number of people in hospital…”

The First Minister said she will set out plans for the easing of restrictions on July 19 next Tuesday, July 13.

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