Sturgeon to announce if Covid restrictions will be lifted in Scotland

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Sturgeon To Announce If Covid Restrictions Will Be Lifted In Scotland
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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Douglas Barrie, PA Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce if Scotland will lift its Covid-19 restrictions and move beyond the current Level 0 rules in place.

Her statement on Tuesday afternoon will say whether or not most measures implemented north of the border as a result of the pandemic last March are to be lifted on Monday, August 9th as hoped.

The Scottish first minister set the date in June, even before the move to Level 0 on July 19th which increased the numbers of people who could gather and extended the opening hours of hospitality.

 

Other businesses such as soft play were finally allowed to reopen – however nightclubs are among those still closed ahead of Tuesday’s statement in a virtual session of the Scottish parliament.

Sports stadia and concert venues may go back to being able to welcome full capacity crowds again for the first time in nearly 18 months if changes are approved.

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It was previously suggested all the major Covid-19 restrictions would be relaxed on Monday as long as the over-40 age group is fully vaccinated, which the Scottish government described as a “gateway condition”.

While lifting the restrictions could also bring an end to social distancing, Ms Sturgeon has already confirmed face coverings in shops and public transport will remain mandatory for “some time to come”.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said social distancing guidance should change as planned but called for amendments to the self-isolation rules of those who are double vaccinated.

He said: “The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme overall means we can now look to move forward, cautiously but confidently, and remove almost all Covid restrictions.

“The blanket requirement to self-isolate for 10 days should be amended for those who are double vaccinated, since the virus now poses far less risk to people with that level of protection.

“We should move to a test-first system that lets people get on with their lives safely.

“Scotland’s economic recovery hinges on the SNP government moving beyond Covid restrictions – we must seize this opportunity to start rebuilding from the damage of Covid now and not delay any longer.”

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Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (Jane Barlow/PA)

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, said: “We are at a crucial moment in our exit from restrictions and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, we must make sure we take all the action necessary to jump start Scotland’s recovery.

“We need to ensure that people are kept safe and that businesses are helped to restart the economy.

“Perhaps most importantly, we urgently need a plan for our NHS and care systems to ensure that workers feel supported, services are invested in and the backlog of appointments is cleared.

“We have to learn to live with the virus, but to do so in such a way that the people of Scotland, our NHS and our economy are supported and protected.”

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

Elsewhere the Scottish Greens have called for clarity on university rules ahead of students returning to campuses across the country within the next few weeks.

Gillian Mackay, the party’s health spokeswoman, said: “The Scottish government must ensure that there is no repeat of last year’s shambolic return to campus, when thousands of students were forced to self-isolate in student halls as the virus ran riot.

“With just a few weeks to go until the new term begins, international students deserve clarity about the process of entering the country and settling in on campus. Yet ministers are unable to tell them how and where they’ll be required to isolate.

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“Students must also have easy access to testing and vaccination on campus, and while many younger students won’t be fully vaccinated, it’s essential that guidance around mask wearing and distancing is clear. Support must also be made available for anyone who tests positive.

“It’s vital that the first minister addresses these issues when she makes her statement to parliament on Tuesday, ensuring that students can be as prepared as possible for their arrival on campus.”

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