The Scottish government must learn lessons in how it cares for its elderly, the First Minister has told MSPs.
Nicola Sturgeon said the last year has served as a “powerful” reminder of the importance of care and the dedication of care workers.
“The death toll in care homes has been a national tragedy – we must consider, reconsider and re-imagine how we support our care workers and look after our older citizens,” she said.
She said the Scottish government also had to consider mistakes, the timing of the first lockdown, and the decision to ease travel restrictions during last summer.
“There is a lesson for all of us in never, ever seeing any change that we want to make as unthinkable or unachievable.
“The past 12 months have shown us that when it is necessary human beings can achieve quite incredible and extraordinary things.”
The First Minister said Covid updates would be less regular during the election period.
But she insisted the Scottish government would be monitoring the pandemic “constantly”.
“That’s vital, because although we can now see a route out of lockdown difficult judgments do still lie ahead.”
She also pointed to a “significantly reduced” number of Covid cases across Scotland, with the vaccines cutting deaths and research also pointing to reduced transmission rates.
“That does open up the fantastic prospect that we can come out of lockdown on a sustainable basis.
“As we move into Spring life should feel a bit less restricted and a bit more hopeful than perhaps it has done for some time.
“As a higher and higher number of people receive the vaccine, we hope to be able to lift restrictions even more.”