Nicola Sturgeon update: what did FM say in announcement - and will Scotland move to level 0 on 19th July?

Nicola Sturgeon update: what did FM say in announcement - and will Scotland move to level 0 on 19th July? (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon update: what did FM say in announcement - and will Scotland move to level 0 on 19th July? (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that the move to Level 0 will go ahead next Monday (19 July) but with some changes to the initial plans. 

The First Minister said that face coverings will remain mandatory after 19 July and likely “for some time to come”.

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‘Still reasons to be concerned’

Speaking to the Scottish parliament earlier today, she said: “Measures like the continued wearing of face coverings are important, not just to give added protection to the population as a whole, but also to give protection and assurance to those amongst us who are particularly vulnerable and previously had to shield.

“Lifting all restrictions and mitigations right now would put all of us at greater risk - but in particular it would make it much more difficult for the most clinically vulnerable to go about their normal lives”

Sturgeon said it is encouraging that case numbers “appear to have levelled off” and that vaccination is “weakening the link between case numbers and severe acute illness”. 

However, she stressed that there are “still reasons to be concerned - and certainly not complacent - about the currency levels of infection”. 

She said that the risks of long Covid are not yet fully understood, but that it is “causing misery for many”.

For this reason, she said, “we cannot be complacent about young people getting the virus” and that doing so would “risk treating them as an experiment”.

The First Minister also urged everyone to get vaccinated “as quickly as possible”. 

She said: “Walk-in vaccination centres are now open in all mainland health board areas for anyone over 18 who has not yet received a first dose, or who received a first dose eight weeks or more ago."

"I appeal to everyone due to receive a first or second dose to get it as quickly as possible. It is the single most important thing any of us can all do to protect ourselves and each other."

What will change from 19 July?

As originally planned the move to Level 0 will go ahead on Monday, meaning up to eight people from four households will be able to meet indoors. 

Ten people from four households will be able to meet in an indoor public place, and hospitality businesses will be able to remain open until midnight. 

The new rules will allow up to 15 people from 15 households to meet outdoors. 

In those parts of the country currently in Level 2, the change will mean soft play centres will be able to reopen. 

Sturgeon confirmed that, although some restrictions will remain in place beyond 19 July, the plan remains to move beyond Level 0 after August 19.

The First Minister said the instruction for people to work from home where possible will remain in place until 9 August.

Sturgeon also said that from 19 July, double-vaccinated Scottish holidaymakers returning from amber list countries will not have to quarantine. 

Latest Covid stats in Scotland

The First Minister announced that as of today, there are 2529 new Covid cases in Scotland, making up 11.5 per cent of total tests. 

This brings the total number of cases to 318,566.

She confirmed that there are 506 cases in hospital, up 37 since yesterday, with 41 people in intensive care.