Nicola Sturgeon Covid update RECAP: Requirement to wear face masks to be removed on a “phased basis”

The legal requirement to wear face coverings in some settings in Scotland will be removed on a “phased basis” from April 4, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Face covering rules are currently the only legal restrictions still in place on in Scotland in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon had previously signalled their use would move from being a legal requirement to being guidance on Monday March 21.

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However, she told MSPs on March 15 that with the “current spike” in cases, ministers had agreed it was “prudent” for the measure to remain in place.

Face covering rules are currently the only legal restrictions still in place on in Scotland in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.Face covering rules are currently the only legal restrictions still in place on in Scotland in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Face covering rules are currently the only legal restrictions still in place on in Scotland in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New reported cases have fallen since the last announcement, from 10,710 in March 16 to 9,311 on Monday, but the number of people in hospital has risen sharply.

On March 15, 1,996 people in Scotland’s hospitals had a confirmed case of Covid-19, compared to 2,383 on Tuesday, according to Scottish Government figures.

You can follow updates in our live blog

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Covid Scotland: Face mask law to remain in most settings until April 18

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has called on the First Minister to “give up control over people’s lives”.

“She can’t use the higher case rates that she has completely failed to reduce as an excuse to delay or backtrack on lifting the remaining restrictions,” he said.

“We have now been living under some form of legal Covid restrictions for over two years. Nicola Sturgeon must now start to trust the Scottish public to keep themselves safe.

“Despite their overly cautious approach, the SNP’s Covid strategy has failed. Scotland’s infection rates have been significantly higher than England’s for several weeks.

“All the SNP have achieved with their dithering and delays is to prolong the hardship of the public and businesses.

“Nicola Sturgeon cannot keep Scotland in Covid restrictions forever. It’s time we got back to normality.”

Nicola Sturgeon Covid update LIVE: Updates on face mask rules Scotland

Hello and welcome to our live blog on a busy day in Westminster and Holyrood.

Boris Johnson is to face MPs at PMQs - with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expected to announce the latest restrictions and whether or not they will be lifted in Scotland.

Lockdown parties in Downing Street did break the law, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has admitted although he denied Boris Johnson had misled Parliament over the issue.

During a round of broadcast interviews, Mr Raab accepted the fact that 20 fixed penalty notices were being issued by the Metropolitan Police meant Covid regulations had been breached – something No 10 repeatedly refused to do on Tuesday.

“I think it is rather different to say that he lied, which suggests that he was deliberately misleading. The PM has not to date been issued with a fixed penalty notice,” Mr Raab told BBC Breakfast.

“Clearly we had the investigations because of the claims, the assertions that were made, which it was right to follow up, and it is clear there were breaches of the law.

“But to jump from that to say the Prime Minister deliberately misled Parliament rather than answering to the best of his ability is just not right.”

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has refused to say whether Boris Johnson would have to step down if he was issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Mr Raab told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I am not going to comment on hypothetical questions or speculate on an ongoing police investigation.”

He also said the public would not necessarily be told if Mr Johnsons’ wife, Carrie, was issued with a fixed penalty notice.

A Conservative MP has come out as trans and revealed in a highly personal statement he was raped and blackmailed.

As well as the fallout over Partygate - this will be the first PMQs since Rishi Sunak delivered his Spring Statement.

The cost-of-living crisis, set to be exacerbated by rising energy bills and the national insurance hike in April, will also add to the Prime Minister’s difficulties.

If you are just joining us - welcome.

  • Boris Johnson will be at the dispatch box at 12:00 for Prime Minister’s Questions, a mare 24 hours after police revealed the first tranche of “partygate” fines had been issued.
  • It will also be the first time he faces Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer since the Spring Statement last week, as the cost of living crisis continues to hit households across the UK.
  • It will be a busy day for the PM as this afternoon he will face further questioning from senior MPs on the Liaison Comittee.
  • In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is to update MSPs on the latest Covid restrictions in Scotland.

We can also expect to hear more about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine at PMQs today.

Russia said there was no breakthrough in the latest round of talks with Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was a “positive factor” that Ukraine submitted its written proposals, but added: “We can’t say there has been something promising or any breakthroughs.”

He emphasised in a call with reporters that there is still a lot of work ahead following Tuesday’s talks in Istanbul.