Nicola Sturgeon lockdown statement RECAP: First Minister to announce 'route map' for easing coronavirus restrictions in Scotland

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is addressing the nation to explain the ‘route map’ that will guide the country out of lockdown, as well as updating the current coronavirus statistics.

Scottish Government statistics put the country’s death toll at 2, 221 with 14,856 people have tested positive.

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These statistics include only those who have been tested for coronavirus, whereas the National Records of Scotland, who have suggested the country’s death toll sits at over 3,500, include those who have coronavirus mentioned on the death certificate.

Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE

Coronavirus in Scotland RECAP: Latest updates on COVID-19 in Scotland

Key Events

  • Schools in Scotland to reopen on August 11.
  • Phase one of lockdown easing to start on May 28
  • Death toll in Scotland now at 2,221
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Nicola Sturgeon to unveil four phase route map to get Scotland restarted

The strategy is based on World Health Organisation (WHO) advice and experience of other countries which have emerged from lockdown, with the first phase of eased measures poised to be given the green light as early as next week.

If continued progress is seen in suppressing the virus north of the Border over the next week, the plan will confirm the first phase of easing restrictions will start from 28 May.

Within a few days of that, ministers will be looking to allow more outdoor activity – such as being able to sit in the park and to meet up outdoors with someone from another household, as long as social distancing rules are followed.

White House launches scathing report against China

The United States on Wednesday issued a broad-scale attack on China over other matters, highlighting Beijing's predatory economic policies, military buildup, disinformation campaigns and human rights violations.

The 20-page report, which comes amid the two countries' simmering feud over the coronavirus, does not signal a shift in US policy, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But it does expand on the tough rhetoric Donald Trump hopes will resonate with voters angry about China's handling of the disease outbreak that has left tens of millions of Americans out of work.

"The media's focus on the current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that's presented by the Chinese Communist Party," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday before the White House released its report.

"China's been ruled by a brutal, authoritarian regime, a communist regime since 1949. For several decades, we thought the regime would become more like us - through trade, scientific exchanges, diplomatic outreach, letting them in the World Trade Organisation as a developing nation. That didn't happen.

"We greatly underestimated the degree to which Beijing is ideologically and politically hostile to free nations. The whole world is waking up to that fact."

'Time running out' for testing plan before second wave, says top health figure

The Health Secretary has been told "time is running out" for the Government to launch its testing and tracing system if a possible second wave of coronavirus is to be avoided.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a testing and tracing system considered essential for easing the current coronavirus lockdown will be up and running by June 1.

But Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation - which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, wrote to Health Secretary Matt Hancock because his members were "concerned" over an apparent lack of a clear strategy.

"We would therefore urge you to produce such a strategy with a clear implementation plan ahead of any further easing of the lockdown," Mr Dickson said in his letter.

He said Mr Johnson's plan to launch the system by June 1 was "very much welcome".

"But delivery and implementation will be critical, and we await further details," he added.

Test, track and trace - TTT - means testing people for coronavirus, tracking the spread of the virus, then tracing the people with whom an infected person has come into contact.

Health officials began contact tracing for every positive diagnosis of coronavirus following the first confirmed cases in January.

Widespread contact tracing was abandoned in mid-March as the number of cases soared in the UK, but it is now seen as a crucial component of efforts to safely ease the lockdown while avoiding a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

June 1 is also the date earmarked for the gradual reopening of schools in England.

American news sites are reporting that Trump will stop taking hydroxychloroquine

Nicola Sturgeon's 'route map' out of lockdown - here's what to expect

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to outline her plan for lifting the lockdown - nicknamed her “route map” - in a press conference this afternoon.

Easyjet to resume flights from June 15

EasyJet will resume flights from a number of UK airports from June 15.

The low-cost carrier announced it will restart flights on mainly domestic routes between 22 European airports.

In the UK, these include Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Belfast.

As part of new safety and hygiene measures, passengers and crew will be required to wear masks on board aircraft.

Heathrow boss calls for risk-based approach to get people flying again

The boss of the UK's busiest airport has signalled tacit support for the Government's plan to quarantine anyone arriving into the UK from abroad.

But he said a "risk-based" approach was needed to get people flying again.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said he backed the idea of "air bridges" between countries with low levels of infection, to provide a fillip to the beleaguered tourism sector.

Portobello beach: John Swinney brands Edinburgh sunbather photos 'concerning'

Pictures of hundreds of people sunbathing and swimming at Portobello beach have been described as “concerning” by the Deputy First Minister.

Portobello beach: John Swinney brands Edinburgh sunbather photos 'concerning'

Pictures of hundreds of people sunbathing and swimming at Portobello beach have been described as “concerning” by the Deputy First Minister.

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