First Minister to outline Scotland’s route map out of lockdown

Conor Riordan, PA Scotland
·2-min read

Nicola Sturgeon is to set out the Scottish Government’s route map out of the current national lockdown.

The First Minister will set out the revised strategic framework on Tuesday afternoon and outline how the country will gradually emerge from restrictions.

Immediate priorities will be the return of young people to education, sports activities for young people and limited social interaction for adults, the Scottish Government said.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We know we cannot continue in lockdown indefinitely and we must plan a gradual phased return to as much normality as possible.

“The restrictions we have put in place are difficult for individuals, families and businesses across Scotland, but they are working – case numbers have decreased, the numbers of people in hospital and needing intensive care are coming down and we are now seeing fewer vulnerable people dying from this horrible illness.

“This means we can begin to consider how, carefully and gradually, we can return to some normality in Scotland.

“A limited number of children and young people were able to return to school yesterday and we have prioritised this because children’s education and wellbeing is such an overriding priority.

“Of course, this has only been possible because people across Scotland have worked together and made sacrifices to bring down levels of Covid-19.

“We hope that more children will be able to return to school later in March.

“And we have published new guidance to enable an easing of restrictions on care home visiting from early March.

“Beyond that, giving people the ability to meet loved ones, initially outdoors, is a priority for easing restrictions within the current level 4.

“As we get to a situation where we can move back to a levels approach, with all or part of the country moving down a level, we can start to carefully open the economy again too.

“The strategic framework sets out as far as possible at this stage how we will approach the gradual easing of restrictions.

“We will be able to give more detail and clarity in the weeks ahead as we make further progress both on suppressing the virus and vaccinating the population, and as we understand more about the impact of vaccination.

“However, to keep moving in the right direction and avoid setbacks caution will be necessary, which is why the framework will be clear about the need to move in a gradual way.”

The plans will set out an indicative order of priority and proposed phases – with periods of at least three weeks between them – to ease current level 4 restrictions and then return to a more geographic tiered system.

Scotland’s route out of lockdown will not be identical to the UK Government’s, but will be “broadly similar”, Ms Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said the data for the nations is different, but the principles of easing restrictions will be the same.