Nicola Sturgeon states it is 'very unlikely' Scottish Covid-19 lockdown will be eased at end of January

Scots should brace themselves for at least another few weeks of lockdown despite the imminent review of current restrictions at the end of January, the First Minister has warned.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that despite a “very, very initial sense of optimism” the national lockdown is working to reduce the spread of Covid-19, she did not want to “raise expectations” that restrictions would be lifted.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, the First Minister warned case numbers were still too high and would see “continued and growing pressure” on hospitals and the NHS “for some time to come”.

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Scotland should prepare for longer in lockdown with restrictions unlikely to be lifted at the end of the month, Nicola Sturgeon said.

The mainland of Scotland remains under similar restrictions to the first March lockdown, with the first review of the restrictions due to take place in the last week of January.

It is more likely that restrictions, specifically around click and collect and takeaway services, will be tightened before they are loosened due to dropping case numbers.

Ms Sturgeon said she had feared Scotland would be facing more than 3,000 positive cases per day at this point rather than the average of around 2,000.

She said test positivity was still too high, but it had not increased from “ten to 15 to 20 per cent” as was seen in London.

Asked about next steps, the First Minister said: "I don’t want anybody getting complacent around that yet a) because it is too early to be definitive and b) if it is the case, that the restrictions might be starting to stabilise things. It is only because we have got the restrictions and we need to keep at them to keep it like that and avoid it running amok again.

“We will review the current lockdown. It is in place at least until the end of January. We haven’t completed that review yet. When we do, I will set that out.

"I wouldn’t want to raise expectations that we will lift all of these restrictions at the end of January. I think that is unlikely.

"I think it would be very unlikely that we would have a wholesale lifting of these restrictions. There may not be any lifting of these restrictions as soon as the end of January. We will have to consider all of that carefully and set that out in due course.”

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