Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon to confirm first phase of lockdown easing
Ahmed mohamed alhamad
May. 28, 2020
Scotland's first minister is expected to confirm that the country's lockdown restrictions are to be eased slightly.
Nicola Sturgeon unveiled a four phase "route map" last week which was aimed at restarting society while suppressing the virus.
A formal review of the lockdown will almost certainly give the green light to the first phase being introduced.
Ms Sturgeon will make an announcement on the easing measures in her daily briefing at 12:30.
She has previously said that the first steps in the process will be "proportionate and suitably cautious", and will be focused on outdoor activities.
The move will be accompanied by the launch of a nationwide "test and trace" strategy, which will see everyone who has had close contact with a person who tests positive for the virus having to self-isolate for 14 days.
How will the new test and trace strategy work? Read the lockdown easing roadmap How lockdown rules differ across the UK
The first phase of lockdown easing, which could take effect from Friday, would see people being allowed to meet outside with one other household at a time, so long as they keep a two-metre distance.
Sitting or sunbathing in parks will be permitted, as will some outdoor non-contact sports such as golf, fishing, tennis and bowls.
And people will be also be allowed to travel for recreation - preferably by cycling or walking - although they will be asked to remain "where possible" within or close to their own local area.
The first phase is also likely to see garden centres and recycling facilities reopen while takeaway and drive-through food outlets will no longer be discouraged from opening.
But schools will not reopen to pupils until the start of the new school year on 11 August - when they are likely to be doing a part-time mix of classroom and home learning.
Many of the easing measures were introduced in England two weeks ago, but Ms Sturgeon said at the time it was not safe for Scotland to follow the same timetable because the infection rate of the virus - the so-called R number - has been higher north of the border.
The route map for easing lockdown
Image copyright Getty Images
The Scottish government has identified four phases for easing the restrictions :
Phase 1: Virus not yet contained but cases are falling. From 28 May you should be able to meet another household outside in small numbers. Sunbathing is allowed, along with some outdoor activities like golf and fishing. Garden centres and drive-through takeaways can reopen, some outdoor work can resume, and childminding services can begin.
Phase 2: Virus controlled. You can meet larger groups outdoors, and meet another household indoors. Construction, factories, warehouses, laboratories and small shops can resume work. Playgrounds and sports courts can reopen, and professional sport can begin again.
Phase 3: Virus suppressed. You can meet people from more than one household indoors. Non-essential offices would reopen, along with gyms, museums, libraries, cinemas, larger shops, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and dentists. Live events could take place with restricted numbers and physical distancing restrictions. Schools should reopen from 11 August.
Phase 4: Virus no longer a significant threat. University and college campuses can reopen in full, mass gatherings are allowed. All workplaces open and public transport is back at full capacity.
The route map published by the Scottish government does not give any definite dates for when future phases of lockdown easing will be introduced.
Ms Sturgeon has said that the situation will be reviewed every three weeks, and that further lockdown restrictions will be eased when it is thought to be safe to do so.
However, key advice such as isolating if you have symptoms of Covid, strict physical distancing, washing your hands and face coverings will remain the same.
The number of people who are dying with coronavirus in Scotland has fallen for four consecutive weeks, with the number of patients needing hospital treatment and intensive care also decreasing.
This has given the first minister and her advisers more confidence that relaxing the lockdown which was introduced across the UK on 23 March will not lead to a resurgence in the virus.
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