Coronavirus lockdown exit strategy 'to be developed in the next week and made public', says Nicola Sturgeon reveals

Matilda Long
·3-min read
Nicola Sturgeon revealed the plan for a lockdown exit strategy during a virtual First Minister's Questions on Zoom (Scottish Government TV)
Nicola Sturgeon revealed the plan for a lockdown exit strategy during a virtual first minister's questions on Zoom. (Scottish Government TV)

An exit plan to end the coronavirus lockdown will be developed in the next week and made public, Nicola Sturgeon has revealed.

The Scottish first minister said it is currently too early to think about easing restrictions, but added that a plan would be formulated in the next seven days.

Speaking at a virtual first minister’s questions, Sturgeon said: “Over the next week or so we will look to develop [a] plan and to share the approach with the public.

“But for now my message continues to be to stay at home except for the essential permitted purposes and to follow all of the public health rules.”

She stressed it is still too early for the lockdown to be lifted, despite slowing increases in cases and patient deaths.

Sturgeon said: “I’m as keen as anyone to lift these restrictions, but I will not begin to do so until I am convinced that we have done as much as is necessary to suppress the virus and we have a clear plan in place to continue to contain it once these measures do start to be lifted.”

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Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon held a meeting of Scottish party leaders over Zoom and streamed the meeting on Facebook (Scottish Government TV)
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon held a meeting of Scottish party leaders over Zoom and streamed the meeting on Facebook (Scottish Government TV)

The Scottish FM will attend a Cobra meeting on Thursday afternoon at which officials from the UK Government and the devolved administrations will make a decision on extending the UK’s lockdown.

The government is expected to extend the measures for a further three weeks, amid signs the epidemic in the UK is beginning to peak.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising as prime minister while Boris Johnson continues to recover from coronavirus, will reveal the plans for lockdown in a Downing Street press conference at 5pm.

Health secretary Matt Hancock warned on Thursday it would “take time” for life to return to normal.

He stressed the number of deaths is still “far too high” for any exit strategy to be set out.

Ministers have resisted sharing any plans for lifting lockdown measures, insisting that the message continues to be that the public need to stay at home.

Earlier on Thursday, one of the scientists advising them questioned whether the government had done enough work on an exit strategy.

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said: “I think there’s a lot of discussion. I would like to see action accelerated.

“We need to put in place an infrastructure, a command and control structure, a novel organisation for this.”

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