Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus briefing: This is why the First Minister isn’t holding a lunchtime briefing on Thursday – and what is happening instead

There will be no lunchtime Covid briefing from the Scottish Government today, with Nicola Sturgeon instead due to attend First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood later in the afternoon.

The weekly session of the Scottish Parliament will be live streamed on The Scotsman at 12:30pm, with up-to-the-minute news and analysis on our live blog.

Ms Sturgeon is likely to face questions from MSPs over the latest daily coronavirus figures, vaccination numbers, and why she won't give a specific date for the end of Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland.

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Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon addressed the announcement of June 21 as a possible date for the end of restrictions in England.

In setting out her Government’s plans on Tuesday for easing the lockdown, the First Minister did not give a similar date.

She told the briefing: “If I was to give you a fixed, hard and fast date right now, I would pretty much be making it up and I don’t think that’s the approach I should take with you.

“I’m not ruling out any specific dates. I want it to be as soon as possible and we have every reason to be hopeful that come the summer life will be much, much, much better than it is just now, but when I stand here and give you what I think the actual date when all or most restrictions will come to an end is going to be, I want to be as sure as I can be that is real and it can be delivered.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “I don’t just understand the frustrations that people have, I feel those frustrations.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“As has been the case all along, I’ll have to take decisions that sometimes you agree with and sometimes you disagree with, but I can assure you that the Scottish Government will continue to do our very best to lead the country as quickly but also as safely and sustainably through this horrible ordeal and out the other side of it.”

Speaking after confirming Scotland has recorded 47 deaths from coronavirus and 798 positive tests in the past 24 hours, she said the Scottish Government’s updated framework for easing restrictions focuses on the next six weeks as “that’s the timeframe that right now we can be most confident about”.

The First Minister said there is uncertainty over how the more infectious virus strain will behave once lockdown restrictions are lifted across Scotland and the impact of the phased return to schools will be particularly scrutinised in this regard.

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She said: “My hope is that the more we learn about the impact of the early changes, the more confidence we will then have that we can go further and faster, without risking a resurgence of the virus that would set us all back. In the meantime, we will move forward carefully.”

Ms Sturgeon also announced on Wednesday that Scotland’s care homes should be supporting up to two named visitors for each resident from March 1, where possible.

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