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Coronavirus restrictions: Scotland urged to 'stick with' lockdown rules

Coronavirus restrictions: Scotland urged to 'stick with' lockdown rules

  • 22 May 2020
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  • Coronavirus pandemic
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Nicola Sturgeon has urged people in Scotland to "stick with" the lockdown restrictions for "a few more days".

The first minister has announced plans to ease the rules from next week.

But she stressed that the existing restrictions and stay at home message will remain in place over the bank holiday weekend.

The Scottish government published its route map for easing lockdown restrictions on Thursday.

In the first phase, due to start from 28 May, people will be allowed to meet people from one other household, in small numbers, while outdoors - so long as they stay at least two metres apart.

More outdoor activities and sports such as golf and fishing will also be allowed, and garden centres and recycling facilities will be able to reopen.

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At her daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: "Not all of the phase one measures will necessarily be introduced next Thursday, but I hope that most of them will be, or at least a day or two afterwards."

The first minister clarified that people will not be limited to meeting one specific household while outside.

"You can see different households, but we are asking you to only meet with one at a time," she said.

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She said the government did not intend to set a five-mile limit on the distance that people could travel to do things like meeting their parents in a garden.

But she said they did not want people to enter their homes, in case they were infectious and could spread the virus to another family member.

The first minister added: "Please use your judgement and continue to have uppermost in your mind the need to protect those you care about, even if that might mean staying apart from them for a little bit longer."

Ms Sturgeon said that people travelling for recreation were being asked to stay "fairly local".

"Five miles isn't going to be a strict limit, but is intended to give you a guide because what we don't want in this phase is for people to congregate at tourist hotspots," she said.

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Ms Sturgeon said more detailed advice and information would be published next week.

But she stressed that the current lockdown restrictions remained in place for now.

"I know how hard these restrictions are and I absolutely know that hearing me talking about easing them, particularly as we head into a bank holiday weekend, will make all of this seem even tougher," she said.

"But you do need to stick with it for a few more days because if we do then I really hope that this time next week when I stand here telling you all to have a nice weekend, I will also be telling you to enjoy, for the first time in a long while, seeing some of your family and friends over the weekend - as long as you do it outdoors and remember to stay socially distant."

  • How will Scotland's virus tracing system work?

Ms Sturgeon also said Scotland could need more than the 2,000 contact tracers being recruited to help control the spread of coronavirus.

She insisted the Scottish government is "on track" to have 2,000 contact tracers in place by June, and was "very close" to being able to process 15,000 tests for Covid-19 a day.

Contact tracers and a higher testing capacity are necessary as part of the Scottish government's test, trace and isolate approach, which is being brought in to try to curb the spread of the disease when lockdown is eased.

But Ms Sturgeon conceded more testing and tracers may be required, depending on "the requirements the virus places on us".

She confirmed there were 660 contact tracers currently in place, with another 750 "at various stages of the appointment and training process".

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