Coronavirus: Scotland and Wales remain more cautious over easing lockdown

·3-min read

The leaders of Scotland and Wales have criticised Boris Johnson's plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown and provided some of their own advice to citizens.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Sky News it was "perfectly justifiable" that Scotland could end up with different lockdown measures to England and other parts of the UK.

Last night, Mr Johnson said people who cannot work from home would be "actively encouraged to go to work" and that the public will be able to drive to parks and other areas to exercise.

"I have to make judgements about what's right for Scotland," Ms Sturgeon said.

"I, at this stage, think it would be too risky to ease restrictions because the virus - while we've made progress against it - is not sufficiently under control yet.

"That progress we've made is fragile and I think it's really important to err on the side of caution."

She reiterated that the slightly looser restrictions in England do not yet apply to Scotland, but said it was not for any "political reason".

Ms Sturgeon said there should not be more people going to work, getting public transport or going to school in Scotland.

The only change that has been made is the removal of the once-a-day limit on exercising.

But the Scottish Conservative leader, Jackson Carlaw, urged Ms Sturgeon to publish the evidence she was using as the basis for a different approach.

"We can't have weeks go by where she asserts a position without the detailed reasons for it being revealed," he wrote on Twitter.

All the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have decided to stick with the "stay at home" message, which was scrapped in favour of a "stay alert" message for English citizens.

Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething told Sky News the original message was "simple, clear and well-understood".

"And, with respect, we don't think the 'stay alert' messaging is," he said.

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The ministers all asked Mr Johnson to be clear when he was speaking in a UK capacity and when he was speaking for England only in his Sunday address, according to Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.

"My own view is that more could have been done and it would have been helpful to us all if there had been a greater emphasis and a greater degree of clarity on a separation between when the prime minister is speaking for his UK-wide responsibilities and when he was making announcements that applied only for England," he said.

Mr Drakeford also warned people not to travel to Wales from other parts of the UK.

"In Wales, it is Welsh law that applies," he said. "Travelling to Wales to exercise is not to exercise locally."

Meanwhile, ministers in Northern Ireland will aim to publish their plan for exiting lockdown on Tuesday, with outdoor activities expected to be eased before indoor ones.

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