Analysis: Nicola Sturgeon’s recent shift in language feels like a significant moment in Covid pandemic

As Nicola Sturgeon talks of "living with the virus", it feels like we are at another significant point in the pandemic.

The First Minister told the Scottish Parliament the current restrictions, in force since just after Christmas, will be lifted "in a phased way" from Monday.

This will see the attendance limit of 500 at large-scale outdoor events removed just in time for the return of the Premiership, which will be welcomed by many.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture credit: Russell Cheyne/WPA Pool/Getty Image

Ms Sturgeon hopes the other measures – such as limits on indoor live events and table service in hospitality – will be lifted from January 24.

Hospitality figures may feel frustrated at having to wait an extra week, but there could also be some relief the delay is not even longer.

And the recent shift in language and tone is worth noting.

It was underlined as Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that her "revised strategic framework" will be published within the next few weeks.

"This is intended to set out how we might adapt, medium to longer term, to living with the virus in a way that still mitigates the harm it does, but without the kind of restrictive measures that we are all tired of and which do harm in other ways," she said.

The First Minister stressed this would involve "careful thought and possibly some difficult choices".

She said: "We know that we cannot continually rely on restrictive measures to manage the virus.

"But equally we cannot be indifferent to the continued risks the virus poses to health and wellbeing.

"So we need to consider what adaptations we can make to manage these risks in a way that is much less disruptive to our lives and much less of a daily presence in our minds."

Clearly, this virus isn’t going anywhere fast and we’re a long way from normal.

And while the evidence suggests the Omicron variant may be milder, it remains a danger. The NHS is still under immense strain.

But after recent weeks, it’s significant that we are now talking openly about “living with the virus” without crippling restrictions.

The coming strategic framework could well mark a new chapter in the fight against Covid.


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