Lockdown in Scotland unlikely to be lifted soon, warns Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots that lockdown restrictions are unlikely to be lifted anytime soon, despite “optimistic signs” the coronavirus measures are working.

The First Minister said in her daily media briefing today that health chiefs needed more evidence on the impact of lockdown before a decision could be reached on whether to ease strict social distancing rules.

She added that if the facts suggested Scotland should follow a different approach from the rest of the UK, it would do so - but only if it would save more lives.

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“We have a way to go in this pandemic,” the SNP leader said. “But the ability to learn and compare lessons as is important.”

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, holding a briefing on the spread of Covid-19 nationwide. (Photo by Andy Buchanan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

A total of 6,067 people have now tested positive for the virus in the country, up 155 from 5,912 the day before, with nine more deaths.

There are 211 people in intensive care with coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, a decrease of 10 on Sunday, and 1,797 people are in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19.

The First Minister said labs in the Tayside and Ayrshire and Arran health board areas have not reported testing figures from the last 24 hours and death figures are often lower after the weekend.

“There are early optimistic signs that the steps we are taking are working but until we know more, until we have solid evidence, we must stick with it,” she said.

Asked about the Scottish Government’s exit strategy from lockdown, Ms Sturgeon continued: “In terms of Scotland’s approach, all along our key priority has been to save lives. The focus is to reduce the number of people who lose their lives.

“In terms of an exit strategy, we need to understand a bit more than we do right now on the impact these measures have had - collectively and individually.

“We need to understand what the impact would be if we release those measures. We have to make sure we have the ability to control this virus.

“The virus will not have gone away. The danger is when we lift restrictions it begins to increase again.

“There is an importance at that point to ensure testing, tracing, and isolating is part of that approach. We need to make sure we fully understand the evidence before we start to release of these measures.

“Will we do this at the same time in Scotland as in the rest of the UK? That will depend on what the evidence tells us. This is not some point of constitutional ideology.

“Ideally, for the reason of simplicity of messaging to people, the more consistency across the UK in what we are doing, the better.

“But if the evidence tells us we need to do something different in Scotland to the rest of the UK, or do it on a different timescale, we will not hesitate to do that.

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