Nicola Sturgeon update: what time today the First Minister is holding a coronavirus briefing after spike in Covid-19 cases in Scotland

The First Minister will hold a coronavirus briefing today (3 August) after 31 new infections have been reported in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to hold a virtual coronavirus briefing today (3 August), following a recent spike in infections in Scotland.

A total of 31 new coronavirus cases were recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours, marking the largest daily increase in almost two months, since 4 June.

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What time is Nicola Sturgeon speaking?

The First Minister will speak at a virtual briefing at 12.15pm

Ms Sturgeon will speak at a virtual briefing on Monday 3 August at 12.15pm.

She will be accompanied by Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, and chief nursing officer, Fiona McQueen.

What is the briefing about?

The reason for the briefing has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to be in response to the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Scotland. On Sunday 2 August, the First Minister confirmed that 31 new infections had been reported and said these cases are currently being carefully investigated.

The recent spike marks the biggest daily increase in cases since 4 June.

In a tweet, Ms Sturgeon said, “Another day y’day with no deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID. However, 31 new cases reported.

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“All of these being carefully investigated and appropriate action taken. But we should take this as a further warning that COVID is still out there. Please follow #FACTS.”

What could the recent outbreak mean?

While the approach to lifting restrictions still remains cautious (with Ms Sturgeon confirming that Scotland will remain in phase three of its lockdown exit plan), the dates for relaxing rules further were set out in the announcement.

As of 1 August, people who are shielding in Scotland can start to follow the same guidance as the rest of Scotland.

From 3 August, certain restrictions on some support groups and services and for sports coaches will be relaxed, and routine eye care services can be provided within community optometry practices and in patients’ own homes

Children can return to school full-time from 11 August, with a phased return over the week, before all pupils are back by 18 August.

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Finally, from 17 August, urgent dental care involving aerosols may begin to be provided in practices for NHS patients.

Several ‘indicative’ dates were also announced, including for live events, reopening of gyms and swimming pools, and resuming driving lessons, but these will depend on whether the pandemic starts to slow in Scotland. The recent spike in cases could potentially put a halt to a number of these plans.

Similar tough restrictions have recently been imposed in England in response to a rise in infections, with parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and West Yorkshire being banned from meeting with other households to help contain the spread.

Local lockdowns are also already ongoing in Leicester and Oldham, which have both seen strict rules reimposed due to the high number of coronavirus cases.