Nicola Sturgeon has announced the government’s latest review of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland – with five new important updates to lockdown.
The First Minister confirmed on Tuesday that restrictions will stay in place for longer than expected and the Covid-19 process was still ‘fragile’.
Scotland has now been in a full-blown lockdown for more than a month, with non-essential shops, pubs and gyms closed as millions are urged to stay at home and avoid travel.
Addressing MSPs in parliament, Sturgeon warned that moving too quickly out of lockdown would lead to cases rising again and restrictions being re-imposed.
Here are the five important updates on Scotland’s lockdown you need to know:
Back to school
Younger and older pupils will go back to classrooms next week under Scotland’s new phased school return.
All children in P1, P2 and P3 and those at nursery will return from Monday, February 22.
Some secondary pupils will also be allowed to return to school in a bid to complete coursework.
Nicola Sturgeon said it is unlikely that any other pupils will return to school before March 15 – but hopes to set out the second phase of school re-opening in a fortnight.
Teachers, senior phase pupils and school staff will be able to get at-home lateral flow tests twice a week.
Senior secondary pupils will also be required to observe two metre physical distancing in school and on school transport.
Lockdown until March
Scotland’s lockdown restrictions will stay in place until at least early March – and possibly beyond that.
The First Minister made no changes to lockdown measures in her announcement, beyond school return.
She warned Scotland would be unlikely to return to “100% normality” for some time yet with lockdown being eased more slowly than last year.
Scots have been urged to stick to the current lockdown rules which will remain the same until at least the end of this month.
The Scottish Government is to publish a roadmap to set out how Scotland can exit lockdown.
Sturgeon announced the plans during her lockdown review, and said MSPs will draw up a “revised strategic framework” – to be published next week.
It comes as Boris Johnson is set to unveils England’s full roadmap next week.
The First Minister said: “We hope to publish this new framework next week, following discussions with the other parties in parliament, and also with business organisations, trade unions, third sector bodies and others.”
Staycations and summer holidays
Nicola Sturgeon warned holidays abroad this summer are off the cards but suggested staycations could be possible.
She said it is unlikely that hotels and holiday accommodation would be open again in time for people to book any sort of Easter break.
The First Minister also warned Scots against booking holidays this Easter as it was unlikely the tourist industry will have fully reopened by then.
She added: “We are likely to advise against booking Easter holidays, either overseas or within Scotland, as it is highly unlikely that we will have been able to fully open hotels or self catering accommodation by then.
“However, for the summer, while it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable, staycations might be – but this will depend on the data nearer the time.”
Sturgeon announced that 28% of the adult population have now been vaccinated, as of 8am on Tuesday.
The first minister confirmed the government had met its mid-February target to offer the first dose of the vaccine to everyone over 70 and everyone with an extreme clinical vulnerability.
She said she was “very hopeful that vaccination will start to have a significant impact in reducing the number of people who die from Covid”, saying there was already evidence of this in care homes.
-- to www.dailyrecord.co.uk