Quicker move through lockdown now expected after sustained progress in tackling virus

Lockdown measures are expected to be announced ahead of schedule tomorrow following good progress in tackling the virus, the First Minister has said.

Speaking during her lunchtime briefing today (Tuesday), Nicola Sturgeon said she would be setting out  “indicative dates” for when some changes would take effect.

“I said at the very start that, if we saw maintained, good progress, we could move through phases perhaps more quickly, or bring certain measures forward, and in some instances that’s what we hope now to be able to do,” she said.

“But I want to stress that we are still taking – and will continue to take – a cautious approach.

“Our aim remains maximum suppression of this virus – because that is what will give us the firmest foundation to face whatever comes ahead.”

Ms Sturgeon did not specify which aspects of the lockdown she would be discussing in tomorrow’s announcement.

However, upcoming measures detailed in the route map include schemes such as reopening of shops, pubs and restaurants as well as museums, galleries and cinemas. More details about seeing friends and family, public services and gatherings are also expected in the next phases.

Shetland businesses have been gearing up to reopen ahead of last week’s announced move to phase two.

Ms Sturgeon said the quicker moving through lockdown had been achieved due to the public’s work in tackling the virus.

After three months of lockdown, she said the latest figures “demonstrate the scale of the progress we have collectively made”.

“Today’s statistics again show, very starkly, the human cost of his virus,” she said.

“My condolences go again to all those who have suffered bereavement.

“However, the statistics underline the very significant progress we’ve made in suppressing it. And that is really the point I want to focus on today.

“It’s now three months to the very day since Scotland went into lockdown.

“Although I’m sure for all of us it seems an awful lot longer than that.

“It’s worth remembering that back then we predicted it would last a minimum of 12 weeks and so it has turned out to be.

“There’s no doubt this has been one of the most challenging periods that our country has ever faced in the lifetimes of the vast majority of us.

“And of course we’ve got to remember that it’s not over yet.

“This virus continues to pose a major threat and it’s likely that it will continue to do so for some time yet to come.

“And it’s fair to say that we have a lot more work to do. But it’s also important to remind us of the progress that we’ve made.”

Ms Sturgeon also said she would be announcing more details on the two metre social distancing guidelines by the end of next week.

For now, however, she stressed the current guidelines still applied.


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