First Minister to outline Scotland’s next steps out of lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon will update Scottish Parliament on Tuesday on the further reopening of society.

The further easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be outlined by Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

The First Minister said she will set out more detail around what changes to expect in April, May and beyond.

She said the statement will underline that “things will start to get a fair bit better in the weeks and months ahead” but also urged caution.

She said: “I will seek to set out some details of what changes we hope to be able to make in early April – hopefully around April 5 – and then what further easing we might then expect to see in late April, and then in mid-May and in much less detail beyond that.

“We can’t provide certainty on everything at this stage, particularly the further into the future we try to look but we will try to provide as much clarity now as possible.

“Tomorrow’s statement will hopefully help you understand when you can expect to see some of the key early milestones in our route back to normality and it will include the proposed date for the end of the ‘stay at home’ rule, the reopening of shopping, the reopening – of probably outdoor first – and then indoor hospitality and further relaxations to the rules about meeting up with other households.”

Sturgeon has previously said the Scottish Government hopes to remove the stay at home requirement by April 5 and then, at least three weeks later, the country will return to geographically variable levels.

Mainland Scotland and some islands have been under level four restrictions – carrying stay at home guidance – since January 5.

Some rules were relaxed last Friday, allowing four adults from two separate households to meet up, including in gardens, for social and recreational purposes as well as exercise.

Groups of four 12-17-year-olds from four different households can now also meet outdoors, while outdoor, non-contact sports for adults in groups of up to 15 are permitted to restart.

Previously only two adults from two separate households were allowed to get together for essential exercise.

The First Minister said a further easing of the rules was possible due to the progress being made in vaccinating the population – with almost two million people having received their first dose.

She said: “By the middle of April we are still on track to have offered a first dose of the vaccine to everybody over the age of 50, all unpaid carers and all adults who have particular underlying health conditions.

“And that target – if, when, as I expect we meet that target – will be a really significant milestone.

“That rapid progress with vaccination provides all of us with firmer grounds for hope about the weeks and months ahead. We’re already seeing the impact of vaccination in reducing deaths and the major Public Health Scotland study that was published last week in partnership with the University of Glasgow – also shows that vaccination can also significantly reduce transmission of the virus.

“And so that gives us greater confidence that as more and more people receive first doses, we will have some scope to relax restrictions, albeit we will still need to do that carefully.”

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