Sturgeon to reveal if Scotland will ease lockdown restrictions

The First Minister will reveal on Thursday if the country is moving on to the first phase of a four-part plan for easing lockdown.

Announcement: Sturgeon will reveal plans today. Getty Images
Announcement: Sturgeon will reveal plans today.

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce “cautious” steps out of lockdown for Scotland.

The First Minister will reveal on Thursday if the country is moving on to the first phase of a four-part plan for easing the restrictions – which were put in place more than nine weeks ago on March 23.

People could be permitted to meet up with friends or relatives from other households – one household at a time – and take part in some non-contact sports such as golf, angling and outdoor swimming.

Garden centres, drive-through restaurants and recycling centres could also get the green light to reopen.

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The changes could come into effect from Friday but Sturgeon has already warned not all the measures in phase one of her plan will necessarily be introduced immediately.

It comes after the number of people dying with Covid-19 fell for the fourth week in a row, with National Records of Scotland revealing there were 230 deaths linked to the virus registered between May 18 and 24.

Sturgeon said: “These trends, which have now been sustained for over four weeks, do definitely give us grounds for encouragement.”

At the same time, Scotland’s new Test and Protect system also comes into force across the country.

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The contact tracing system will “operate at a scale not seen before in Scotland” Sturgeon said, as part of efforts to continue to suppress the spread of the virus.

Under the new system, Scots will be expected to be tested for Covid-19 if they show symptoms of the disease – and if they test positive they will be asked to supply details of anyone they could have passed it on to.

Those people will then be contacted by the team of tracers and asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Speaking on Tuesday, the First Minister said introducing the system at the “same time as we take the first very cautious steps out of lockdown gives us the opportunity to address any operational issues ahead of a potentially more substantial easing of restrictions”.

So far, the only relaxation of restrictions in Scotland has been to allow people to exercise outside more than once a day. 

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