News | Published May 16 2020

Sturgeon hints at easing Covid-19 lockdown in Scotland

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that Holyrood could announce measures to ease the Covid-19 lockdown in Scotland next week.

While Sturgeon stopped short on providing exact dates, she stressed that people “can’t live like this forever”, reassuring that any loosening of restrictions would be done gradually in respect of the lives at risk.

Speaking on Friday, the first minister said that some “minor changes” to the lockdown could be revealed next week, alongside some of the options the Scottish government has considered for its exit strategy.

Sturgeon said: "We can't live like this forever, so we need to get some normality back as we continue to suppress the virus.

"Even when we can't yet give firm dates on when things will open up again, at least we will seek to share with you the order of priority and further phasing.

"Next week I will share with you more information on the assessments we are making and the range of options we are now looking at, and also any further minor changes we might make in the short-term."

Some loosening of lockdown restrictions is already underway in England, with people allowed to go outside for longer periods, while employees in some sectors who cannot work from home have been encouraged to return to work.

The Scottish government has allowed for citizens to leave their homes for exercise more than once per day, but the new measures introduced by Westminster have not been triggered in Scotland or anywhere else outside of England.

The toll of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Scotland is in decline, but Sturgeon said that further measures to ease the lockdown will not be implemented until “more evidence of a downward trend” in the spread of the virus is obvious.

In Scotland, rural areas of the country appear to have been less affected than larger cities, and the first minister said that Holyrood would not rule out the prospect of easing lockdown rules in rural zones first, but this idea would not be followed through “at this stage”.

The total number of confirmed and suspected Covid-19 deaths in Scotland is over 3,200, with more than half of these are occurring in care homes.

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
May 16 2020

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