A week on from announcing her cautious routemap out of lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon prepares to address Parliament this afternoon for the weekly coronavirus restriction review.
Today’s announcement follows the news yesterday that three cases of the Brazilian variant were confirmed in Scotland.
It is expected that the First Minister will also give more details on the phased return of schools.
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Nicola Sturgeon coronavirus update RECAP: First Minister to give latest update to Holyrood
Last updated: Tuesday, 02 March, 2021, 14:35
‘Safety of staff and children are a key priority’, FM said
Two metre social distancing will be monitored in secondary schools and face masks must be worn as pupils return, FM said.
Classrooms will see improved ventilation to help prevent further spread of the virus.
Lateral flow testing will also be introduced into schools as pupils and teachers return.
Remote learning will continue to be given ‘at the highest standard’, FM says
‘We will make sure online learning is still provided for pupils across the country,’ FM said.
Students in year 4 to 6 who are taking national qualifications will have priority for face-to-face lessons in school.
Although years 4 to 6 will have priority, all pupils in secondary will school should be guaranteed some ‘in-school’ education up until the Easter break and then return full time following that.
FM confirms the next phase of reopening schools will take place on March 15
From 15 March, unless circumstances change, all children in primary 4 to 7 will go back to school on a full time basis.
All primary school children will be able to return to regulated child care, including after school and breakfast clubs.
From 15 March will also see next steps for phased return for secondary school pupils - with all secondary school pupils due to be returned to school on a full time basis following the Easter holidays.
But there are plans for secondary pupils to spend some time in school in between March 15 up to the Easter break, FM adds.
‘News on vaccine and suppression is overwhelmingly positive’, says FM
‘There is more to be optimistic about,’ says FM, but she still warns about concerns over new variants coming into the country
Over the weekend it was revealed three new cases of the Brazil variant were confirmed in Scotland after three oil workers flew home to Aberdeen from the south american country.
‘Good progress in suppressing virus’, say FM
Ms Sturgeon said data released this week shows that cases are declining in the country.
This time last week, the country was recording an average of 815 new cases a day - that has now fallen to 657 cases a day on average.
This is the lowest level since the first week of October last year, FM adds.
The average test positivity rate has also fallen and is now below 5 %.
Hospital admissions have also fallen - in first half of January more than 1,000 Covid patients a week were being admitted to hospital. In the week up to end of February that had fallen to 468.
Number in intensive care has also continued to decline, FM added.
FM says Scotland may face supply issues next week
But this should not impact the country’s April target, she added.
‘First dose of Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine reduces need for hospital treatment more than 80 per cent,’ FM says
FM confirms as of 8.30am 1,634,361 people in Scotland have received first dose of vaccine. That is an increase of 22,783 since yesterday.
FM said there is good evidence the vaccines are reducing the number of deaths, particularly in care homes.