Nicola Sturgeon: Work on Scots lockdown exit strategy is 'underway'

Nicola Sturgeon has said that discussions have started on how to devise Scotland's exit strategy from the Coronavirus lockdown - but warned it won't happen soon.

The First Minister hinted that it could be phased return to normality from the current restrictions, with the possibility of schools returning first or some shops reopening in a stage by stage approach.

Ministers are already discussing the factors that have to be taken into account in moving to ease the lockdown, she told journalists today.

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But she insisted there is not enough information available yet to take "firm decisions."

Nicola Sturgeon says work is underway on how to devise Scotland's exit strategy

“That work of looking at the different options and what evidence we would need to inform these decisions is already underway,” the First Minister said.

The UK scientific advisory group is having further discussions this week, the SNP leader added, while its Scottish equivalent will also have talks on the issue this week.

"It's important to be clear on two things. Firstly it is not the case that these measures are likely to lifted imminently. We couldn't do that with confidence and not risk a resurgence in the virus.

"But as and when we have the ability to see how we do this and what order and what timescale, we will be candid and transparent and open with people both about what we are advising and the basis of that."

Ms Sturgeon warned that even when lockdown measures are eased, there will still be a need to "suppress" the virus.

"That is where what is called `test, trace and isolate' strategy comes back to the fore and that will be an important part of our consideration.

"We are all working hard to get these decisions right, to get them in the right sequence in the right timeframe, but driven by that objective of trying to keep the number of people who die from the virus as low as possible."

A number of measures in place at the moment have resulted in the current lockdown.

These include the household isolation of symptomatic people, school closures, social distancing for people outside, stay home measures, the shutdown of non-essential workplaces.

"The options are, are there any elements of that that would be safe to start to release before you release all of these measures,” the First Minister added.

"For example could you see schools go back before the measures generally being lifted. Could you see some businesses going back, some shops reopening.

"You start to see from other countries these are the kinds of things being thought about there as well.

"So we need to be very careful and considered about how we judge the impact these things would have.

“Would some of these things just lead too quickly and dramatically to an increase in the virus again."

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